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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Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy


Millennium Trilogy Bundle (3 volumes) by Stieg Larsson | LibraryThing

Larsson, S., Vance, S., & Random House Audio Publishing. (2008). The girl with the dragon tattoo. New York: Random House Audio. 9780307577580

Larsson, S., Keeland, R., & Vance, S. (2009). The girl who played with fire. New York: Random House. 9780739384176

Larsson, S., & Keeland, R. (2010). The girl who kicked the hornet’s nest. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. 9780307269997

Things reached such a point that I felt I was the only one who hadn’t read the Millennium Trilogy. Spotting The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo on the audiobook shelf at one HCPL, I decided to give the late Stieg Larsson a chance.

Mikhail Blomkvist, an iconoclastic publisher of Millennium, loses a libel suit in 2002 to billionaire Hans-Erik Wennerström and is sentenced to three months in prison. A little time passes when Blomkvist receives an invitation from Henrik Vanger, the retired CEO of the Vanger Corporation. Blomkvist doesn’t realize that Vanger commissioned an investigation into Blomkvist’s personal and professional history. This was carried out by Lisbeth Salander, a surveillance agent with Milton Security. Vanger requests an investigation into the 1966 disappearance of his grand-niece, Harriet. Salander is an eccentric genius with relatively few scruples. When Blomkvist and Salander collaborate, the bad guys better bar the door.

That’s how all the fun starts. I won’t spoil the latter two novels but I will say The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo lays the groundwork for the others. These must be read in order. Larsson developed compelling characters and situations which forced me to rubberneck. Normally, I prefer cozier mysteries but I had to see the story lines to their ends. Blomkvist came across as a James Bond type (Daniel Craig plays both 007 and Blomkvist, is this a coincidence?) while Salander isn’t terribly likeable. Still and all, I cared about these two. Blomkvist’s attorney sister, Annika Gianinni, was perhaps my favorite character; she truly shines in the third book. While much violence takes place within the Millennium Trilogy, Larsson did not support it. In fact, I’d say he was rather anti-violence. Another difference with this trilogy is that I liked the final installment, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, best.

A couple of personal preferences I’m compelled to mention: 1) Larsson wove much intertextuality into the series. I believe if I’d read these books prior to this series, I’d have a deeper appreciation. 2) I wish I had a better idea of Swedish geography. These places were lost on me. 3) Okay, I was overwhelmed by all of the Swedish names, especially since I listened to the first two books. 4) I thought it was cool when I read about Ikea and Securitas. 5) Yes, I want to see the movie!

Four Out of Five Pearls

Song: ‪How Soon is Now? – The Smiths – YouTube

Setting :  Sweden – mostly

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