Oh man, 16 year old me would have lived and died with this book. I’m not kidding, it’s like Chbosky rounded up a bunch of teenagers, whizzed them up in a blender and was left with a pure distilled essence of teenage angst, which he then used as ink to pen this novel.
Not that I mean to sound dismissive of teenage emotions. I still remember what it was like to be that age. In a lot of ways it was amazing, and in a lot of ways it really, fucking sucks. Chbosky really captures that. The feelings of wonder and discovery and the feelings of pain and awkwardness.
Like I said, 16 year old me’s life would have been changed by this book. I think the way Charlie (our weepy protagonist) talks about his parents would have opened my eyes and had a real impact on how I looked at and related to my mum and dad. And the way he interacts with his friends, the positive and negative, would have helped me deal with the occasionally great occasionally brutal arena of teenage friendships. Unfortunately 25 year old me found the book to be too overwrought and dramatic. I knocked it out in a day and enjoyed it well enough, but whereas as young adult books like ‘The Fault In Our Stars’ or ‘How We Will Now’ can connect to me and move me, all ‘Perks’ really did was make me feel old and alienated. Which I guess is the point. This a young adult book in the purest sense of the word. A book that will speak only to young adults, and leave all others somewhat confused by its success.
(Actually a lot of the negative reviews I see for this book complain that Charlie seems younger than his age and emotionally stunted. Which to me was like complaining that that a one legged character only seemed to have one leg. Well, yeah, duh. He is emotionally stunted. That’s kinda the point…)
I hope that one day I have kids who I can get to read this book, and hopefully they will love it in the way that I’m just too old to do.
I bought this book