Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Banned Books Week: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

by:  Stephen Chbosky
published by:  MTv Books
publish date:  1999

Charlie is a freshman. And while he's not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. He's a wallflower--shy and introspective, and intelligent beyond his years, if not very savvy in the social arts. We learn about Charlie through the letters he writes to someone of undisclosed name, age, and gender, a stylistic technique that adds to the heart-wrenching earnestness saturating this teen's story. Charlie encounters the same struggles that many kids face in high school--how to make friends, the intensity of a crush, family tensions, a first relationship, exploring sexuality, experimenting with drugs--but he must also deal with his best friend's recent suicide. Charlie's letters take on the intimate feel of a journal as he shares his day-to-day thoughts and feelings.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower was a complete surprise for me.  I knew nothing about it when I started reading it other than it was being made into a movie with Emma Roberts and that it was written as a series of letters.  Oh, and that it shows up on the ALA frequently challenged books lists in the last decade.

Reasons for banning: drugs, homosexuality, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, suicide, and unsuited to age group.

So yeah, all that stuff does show up in the book.  I'm assuming this book would be geared towards high school aged people.  To say it's unsuited to the age group is a little silly.  If you don't think kids in high school don't know what all that stuff is, try watching a PG-13 movie once in awhile.   Talk about unsuited to the age group.  Different soap box!

I found this book to be very intriguing.  I read the entire thing in one sitting.  I enjoyed Charlie, but I can't say I understood everything that was going on.  I didn't understand the idea of writing to someone he didn't know.  I thought the relationship between Michael and Charlie could have been described better.  He didn't really seem like a close friend, but maybe I should have read more into what was actually there.

In the little "About the Author" blurb I found it interesting that Stephen Chbosky was involved with the television show Jericho.  I loved that show when it was on.   He also wrote the screenplay for the upcoming movie of The Perks of Being a Wallflower. I'm very curious to see how the issues of drugs and homosexuality are going to be dealt with in the movie and what the rating will end up being.

1 comment:

Alexis @ Reflections of a Bookaholic said...

I think that Banned books have the opposite affect. I'm always curious to find out why the book is so taboo. Great review. It sounds too dark for me personally but these are things people deal with. It's life. I wouldn't ban it. I might hope my 5 year old doesn't find it. (I don't have a 5 year old. I was joking)