Book I Read in October

I'm a little ashamed of myself for only managing to read one book in the month of October, considering that for about 2/3 of the month I've been laying in bed recovering from surgery!  I actually have started two other books (Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Magicians), but just haven't found much motivation to finish them, but I'll try to power through!

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
 If I was only going to read one book, I am so glad this was the one!  Told in the form of letters written by Charlie, a high school freshman, to a mystery person that we never meet, this book (a very short read) spans his freshman year of high school and a million ups and downs within that year.  All we know is that Charlie admires this mystery person because they "didn't sleep with that person at that party when they could have."  And thus begins our look into Charlie's mind and the slightly off-kilter way that it works.

I found this book to be immensely important as a young adult novel.  It tells the story of a high school experience from a perspective that is too often overlooked.  Charlie is an outcast struggling to find his place, but as you read his personal letters you find that his struggle is unique in that it is felt so deeply it becomes dangerous.  Charlie's a weird kid:  his reaction to most situations is crying, he doesn't understand simple social constructs, he sees and experiences things but lacks the ability to comprehend them as they are happening, and yes, he's a wallflower (and one could argue probably falls somewhere on the autism scale).  But I absolutely and completely loved that Chbosky chose to put this high school experience down on paper.  It is largely opposite from my own high school experience on the surface, but the deep running feelings of confusion and loneliness and out-of-placeness are something we've all felt at least an inkling of at one point or another.

Additionally, I have wanted to read this book for a long time because it is often banned from libraries.  I wrote my senior thesis in college on the dangers of banning books from our schools, so this is an issue I feel extremely strongly about.  I once was included on an e-mail thread from a former boss discussing with a school board how Perks should be removed from the school library.  Here was the kicker:  Not one of the adults included on the thread had ever read the book.  Because they had heard that it contained mentions of child abuse, rape, masturbation, and homosexuality (without any idea of the context of those mentions), they deemed it worthy of their censorship.  I have huge issues with this that could fill a 30-page college paper (literally, as I have already written it), but here's what I concluded when I read this book:  It is a heart-breakingly beautiful depiction of a teenage boy struggling violently with personal issues and searching for a place where he can fit, and that story could not be less dangerous to a high school student. 

I've seen lots of other bloggers who have read this book and given reviews that are basically the opposite of mine, but I adored it.  If you've read it, I would love to hear your view!


  1. I haven't read it yet, but it's coming up on my list very soon. Maybe I'll try to get it this weekend to start when I finish my current one... Looking forward to reading it though!

  2. I literally just finished this book & couldn't agree more! Loved it!!

  3. I read this a long time ago back in high school and it's always been one of my favorites. It reminds me a lot of my friends in high school too :) I was a big drama geek and Patrick is a dead ringer for a friend of mine. I'm so glad you liked it and I'm right there with you on book banning, so serious kudos on the thesis. It's an issue that often gets swept aside because we want to protect our children but in reality it's usually just our own ignorance about the book that causes the issue in the first place.
    Anyway, I highly recommend you go see the movie too. I just saw it last week and it was fantastic. It seemed pretty true to the story, but admittedly it has been a long time since I read it. It has the added bonus of the screenplay and directing being done by the actual author. Plus the sound track is to die for! Such a great story :)

  4. Don't feel bad about not reading more! It's hard to keep up with the daily TV shows and READING BOOKS :)

  5. As per my usual style, I haven't read the book, but I LOVED the film!

  6. Oh! And you should finish Girl with the Dragon Tattoo... it takes a bit to get into it, but when I got to that point I voraciously read the series as fast as I could. It's entrancing!

  7. I read this back in 1999 when it first came out, and I adored it. I was a freshman in high school, so it was one of those books that really resonated with some of the things I was going through at the time. I really, really need to read it again.

    Also, my mom was a high school English teacher and is the one who bought it for me :) In small town Oklahoma, no less!