Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

I've heard from a dozen people or so that I had to read The Perks of Being a Wallflower. I just finished the book, and I gotta say, I was kinda let down.

I'm not crazy about the diary (ok, it's not technically a diary) format. I feel like it's kind of lazy. It allows for easy, unnatural breaks in the story's flow, and I'm just not a fan. Secondly, the writing itself wasn't great. I think that in a lot of ways this is connected to the informal diary (letter) style. "Of course the sentences are choppy, it's a freaking anonymous letter!" However, I don't read novels to read choppy sentences. I have no examples right this second (I literally just finished the book). I also found the name-checking of famous novels (many about alienation) to be kind of obvious and annoying. I especially was annoyed by some of the Catcher in the Rye references. We get it, Charlie is a lot like Holden, we really do. Ha.

All that being said, I didn't hate the book. I found Charlie endearing and interesting, if annoying. I resonated with a lot of the things he said (not in a very deep way, just in a, "yeah, I get that" kinda way). I have felt infinite, I have felt different, I have cried for no reason.

All in all, I would give the book a 3 out of 5. It had some promise, and I would have really loved to see the subject matter in a more capable author's hands.


Rachelle said...

I read this book a couple years ago, so pardon my less than perfect recall; part of your issue is most likely that it is written for adolescents. Additionally, I don't know - its been done so much; its hard to write another book about being young and angsty, about "finding yourself" without the inevitable comparison to Catcher and the Rye. And you can't beat Catcher and the Rye. Its the same thing as all those sad writers who try to be Jack Kerouac.

Quinn said...

Agreed, I would have loved this book in high school, and for many it would be more accessible than The Catcher in the Rye.

Rob said...

I find that the older that I get, the harder it is for me to connect with angst. Certainly, there was much about adolescence that was very difficult. However, in hindsight it lacks the bite of "real adult" issues.

Catcher in the Rye, while tremendous when I was 16, falls short for me these days. Meanwhile, Dave Eggers has become much more accessible in recent years.

I guess empathy is a hard virtue for me to grab a hold of in my reading.

just to fill the space - by Templates para novo blogger