When I first read a quote from this novel, I had high hopes. How sorely mistaken am I. This book was just disappointing in so many layers.
Here’s my two-cents on this book:
Let us begin with the title’s keyword, “wallflower.” I believe the author and I have very different views of the term. Polar opposites. Yes, the character shies away from socializing with people his age. But that is due to a traumatic experience. Somehow, I could not associate the description to Charlie, the main character. To me, he sounds like a broken person, who has serious problems. And I was right. At the end of the book, we finally realize that he was molested when he was young. It’s more of an emotional and mental constitution rather than being a wallflower.
Secondly, the main character is described as intelligent. He probably is if we’re going to base it on his school performance. He does well in school and gets good grades. But he is a 15-year old boy who thinks and acts like a 5-year old based on his letter writing. When I first realize his age to the tone of the book, I had a hard time relating the character to the voice.
Third, this is just one crappy form of writing. One example would be the emotional experience in this book. It can be summed up in one word – sad. I’m really sad. I was sad. I feel sad. It’s sad. Someone needs to give the author a thesaurus. Or at least the narrator. I think I’ve read the word “sad” on every page. He could also learn a thing or two from Tolkien in terms of being descriptive. His narration lacked imagination. It was not coherent. It was like reading a step-by-step process. And until the end of the book, I didn’t know exactly where the author is taking me. It’s like a roller coaster ride into depression. It felt like the character is simply ranting and that he’s quite stoned while doing that. I think this would have turned out better if told in third person.
Lastly, the social issues touched on this novel were not given proper representation. It lacked the urgency to address them or provide a more in-depth or deeper perspective. In one chapter, the main character watched a girl being raped by her boyfriend without realizing what it was. In another paragraph, he finally realized it for what it was and that was that. No follow through. There were too many social issues crammed into this book that were not properly addressed – homosexuality, suicide, death, rape, mental disorders, peer pressure, drugs, etc. I believe the author could have focused on one issue at a time. The other issues were irrelevant to the character’s state of mind.
I don’t know what the hype was all about regarding this novel and I will surely won’t waste any more time watching the film. I can’t imagine how this novel passed the editors and got published. Aren’t they supposed to polish it first? I should have put down this book the moment I realized it’s full of crap. I waited for a redeeming moment and it never came.
I’m sorry, Stephen Chbosky, I don’t get this at all.