Despite being on holiday, I haven’t got anywhere near as much reading done as I had intended or anticipated, but finally this morning I finished my first book of August for the 2015 Reading Challenge: ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’ by Stephen Chbosky (#48 A banned book). This novel is a Young Adult coming of age story which incorporates mature themes such as substance abuse and molestation, and as a result it is easy to see why it is one of the most commonly banned books in US schools.
My Goodreads Review
“‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’ follows socially-awkward freshman Charlie, in his first year of high school. Undoubtedly a coming of age novel, Chbosky writes from a first person perspective, but in the form of letters – with the reader being the intended audience of Charlie’s writings, and as such a personal relationship between the two parties is created and develops.
Early on in the novel it becomes apparent that Charlie isn’t just any other “wallflower”, but that something happened in his past that caused him to be more anxious and have more mental health problems than the average teenager, however the full extent of which is not revealed until the end of the novel.
Charlie quickly makes friends with the most unlikely of people – two seniors, Sam and Patrick, who take Charlie under their wing, and introduce him to girls, alcohol, drugs, and later, sexual experiences (it’s easy to appriciate why this novel is often banned), and his English teacher, Bill, with whom he shares a passion for books. Alongside the main characters, the supporting characters of Charlie’s family (Mom, Dad, brother and sister) are seen as loving through Charlie’s voice, even though as a reader we might disagree in part – Charlie always sees the best in people, and perhaps that is no bad thing.
Whilst I did enjoy this book, the tone felt a little innocent (exactly as the author intended it, as it fit the character perfectly) and I feel as though I would have appreciated the morals in this book more greatly had I read it in my school years.”
Personally I don’t think “banning” a book is ever okay, but I understand and fully appreciate the need to shield innocent eyes from mature themes to a degree, however I think literature is a useful safe haven for learning about such things.
Undoubtedly this book has exploded in popularity since the movie adaptation starring Logan Lerman and Emma Watson hit theatre screens (formerly it attracted a cult following), which in all honesty is nothing but a good thing. The more that social stigmas are addressed in literature, the better.
“Ban” away America (I’ve not really heard of the UK banning books to such an extent, although I suppose it must happen) as it does nothing but draw attention to such literature!
#48 A banned book – The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (6/10)
Thirty-two down, eighteen to go. (Forty read)
My journey will also be instagrammed frequently on @charlottebibliophile