Pocket Books

Book Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower


The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky – Paperback, 232 pages – Published by Pocket Books

There’s obviously been a lot of hype about this novel and although I didn’t know much about the plot (at all) I decided it was worth a read.

I had no idea that this was written in the form of letters to the reader. Don’t get me wrong, I adore that writing style, it was just totally unexpected. Chbosky has really captured Charlie’s voice, giving us a better insight into his life and personality than any descriptive writing ever could.

Charlie is 15/16 in this novel, and lonely. He befriends Sam and Patrick, siblings who are older than himself. Then follows people like Craig, Alive and Mary-Elizabeth. Charlie’s siblings are also a prominent aspect in this book, not to mention his deceased Aunt Helen.

They go through typical teenage experiences, including crushes and breakups and even some abuse. They help each other and they fall out and Charlie tells us everything in brutal honesty, apart from those few parts where he feels incapable of repeating what happened/was said.

There are a lot of deeper undercurrents, which may or may not be hard for some people to read. But again, these subplots are truthful and realistic and full of emotion. A lot of them are also pretty unexpected and shocking – as they often are in life.

It’s definitely easy enough to read this whole novel in one sitting and is totally worth having a look at. Although it isn’t quite one of my favourites – though honestly I’m not quite sure what exactly it’s lacking – it has earnt a strong four stars out of the full five.


Book Review: Breakfast with Tiffany


Breakfast With Tiffany: An Uncle’s Memoir by Edwin John Wintle – Paperback, 310 pages – Published May 1st 2006 by Pocket Books

My teacher gave me a small stack of books to read upon hearing how much I love reading, and claimed that this was her all-time favourite. Honestly, the title is what really appealed to me – clearly, it wasn’t anything to do with Breakfast at Tiffany’s, but I appreciated the reference.

This novel, this memoir, is a truthful, brutally honest book about life. I can’t say I know what it’s like to be in the author’s place – I’m not a man, I’m not gay, I am not the guardian of my niece and I don’t even live in America – but the little things are just so real.

Tiffany’s home life isn’t great, and one day her uncle volunteers to take her in. Never did he anticipate so much drama and pain from such a small girl. She’s thirteen when she first moves in with her Uncle Eddy, and despite being a nice girl she is known to hang around with the wrong crowd. No matter how hard he tries, Eddy cannot prevent her from finding similar friends at her new school.

The pair really go through their ups and downs, and Ed himself talks a lot about personal thoughts and issues. He’d tested HIV-positive many years ago, and was also an unsuccessful actor. He broke up with his boyfriend relatively recently, and suffers from obsessive compulsive disorder. Basically, life just has not turned out the way he’d planned.

Living with a teenager teaches him a lot of things. He is reminded of his own youth, and has to get on with his life all while keeping Tiffany going too. It’s not easy. Things do get rough, and he does find himself wondering why he ever got himself into this. But in the end their relationship is good, and they have a lot of fun together.

I did find this book great. It has hints of humour, conveys the bitter truth, and even gave me a taste of what it’s like to be a guardian of a teenage girl. There are definitely references I would have appreciated more had I been older than sixteen, and many of Ed’s problems, thoughts or situations may have been more interesting or important to an older generation.

That being said, I actually kind of loved this book. It isn’t quite in my favourites – but who knows, maybe in thirty years time it will be. I think I can easily give Breakfast with Tiffany: An Uncle’s Memoir 4.5 stars out of the full five.