Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower


The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky | LibraryThing

Chbosky, S. (1999). The perks of being a wallflower. New York: Pocket Books. 9780671027346

Reasons for Reading : The first time I heard about The Perks of Being a Wallflower was in library school. Stephen Chbosky’s work was banned by the Library Patrons of Texas. I hadn’t thought much about it until I saw that a movie based on the book would come out later in 2012. Thus, I requested and checked out the book from HCPL.

Summary : Assuming the alias “Charlie,” a troubled high school freshman writes letters to an unnamed friend, starting in the 1991. Through these rather intimate letters, Charlie describes his family, his teacher Bill who assigns extra essays to write, his senior friends, Patrick and Sam[antha], and his late Aunt Helen.

What I Liked : Nothing was sugarcoated in this book. Actually, it was pretty raw stuff. The characters were original and realistic.

What I Disliked : Maybe it was necessary for Chbosky to set this in the early 1990s. Yet, it would’ve appealed more if it had been set around the time it was published – 1999. Also, I somber read and not for those looking for some gentle literature.

Three Out of Five Pearls

Song: The Smiths – Asleep – YouTube

Setting : Pittsburgh, PA

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Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows’ The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society


The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer | LibraryThing

Shaffer, M. A., & Barrows, A. (2008). The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. New York, N.Y: The Dial Press. 9780385340991

One friend of mine noticed this most curious title on the NYT Bestsellers list. The name compelled her to request the book via HCPL and read it. She recommended it highly for two years. So, this summer, I requested it myself. The book was a collaborative effort between the late Mary Ann Shaffer and her niece Annie Barrows.

Shaffer and Barrows tell their tale through correspondence; this is an epistolary novel. The letters begin in early 1946. London writer Juliet Ashton receives a letter from Dawsey Adams from the Channel Islands, Guernsey to be exact. Dawsey is the current owner of a Charles Lamb book which once belonged to Juliet. Their correspondence leads to discussion of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, a book club which met on Guernsey Island during the German Occupation. Through many letters, Juliet discovers the light of literature and new friends.

While I felt the book slow in the beginning, I soon found myself riveted. I enjoyed several of the characters and I loved how the authors allowed the characters to speak for themselves. Juliet was my favorite character. At a point fairly early in the book, Juliet requests references from two people – a man who will sing her praises and a woman who will expose all of Juliet’s warts. Juliet’s spirit leapt from the pages. While this takes place after World War II in England, negativity and bleakness are part of the picture. However, these people rise above this and look forward to their brighter futures. 

So, when’s the movie coming to a theater near me?

Four of Five Pearls

Song: ‪Mr Postman – the Marvelettes High Quality‬‏ – YouTube

Setting : Guernsey, Channel Islands, London, England, France, Germany

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For more on Shaffer and Barrows’ The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, please check out the following links: