The Perks of Being a Wallflower

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Author: Stephen Chbosky

Page Count: 256

Genre: Coming-Of-Age

Book Synopsis: Socially awkward teen Charlie is a wallflower, always watching life from the sidelines, until two charismatic students become his mentors. Free-spirited Sam and her stepbrother Patrick help Charlie discover the joys of friendship, first love, music and more, while a teacher sparks Charlie’s dreams of becoming a writer. However, as his new friends prepare to leave for college, Charlie’s inner sadness threatens to shatter his newfound confidence.

Movie Adaptation: The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)

 
 
 You don’t want to miss this one!
An upbeat epistolary, with the writing perfectly synchronized with the introvert  (or more appropriately: emotionally handicapped) protagonist, not finding it relatable is not even a question since we all have been through/are going through the gawky adolescence.
And if you abstain from shedding spotlight on yourself and are comfortable being the observer, you would perfectly understand the “Wallflower”
You see things. You keep quiet about them. And you understand.
Here’s a sneak:

There is a feeling that I had Friday night after the homecoming game that I don’t know if I will ever be able to describe except to say that it is warm. Sam and Patrick drove me to the party that night, and I sat in the middle of Sam’s pickup truck. Sam loves her pickup truck because I think it reminds her of her dad. The feeling I had happened when Sam told Patrick to find a station on the radio. And he kept getting commercials. And commercials. And a really bad song about love that had the word “baby” in it. And then more commercials. And finally he found this really amazing song about this boy, and we all got quiet.

Sam tapped her hand on the steering wheel. Patrick held his hand outside the car and made air waves. And I just sat between them. After the song finished, I said something.

“I feel infinite.”

Chbosky covers the A-Z of being a teenager- First dates, family, drama, new friends, sex, sexual exploration, drugs, loss, young love, suicide, sexual abuse, rape, and you name it!
It’s devastatingly real but somehow I feel Chbosky bit more that he could chew. The depths of each aspect haven’t really been described or hinted upon, save for the child-like outlook of the teenage protagonist.  The novel is incredibly over-rated, yes! It didn’t really inspire or inculcate something in me as I expected it to (Probably because I had high hopes when I picked this book up!).

 

Anyways, I think everyone should read this book, not because everyone else is reading it or has read it; but because it’s a nostalgic experience. And don’t we all like to live more than many lives (Even though it spans only 256 pages)?

You’ll love this one if you like Catcher In the Rye!

 

Reviews:

Critics: 4.2/5

I’d rate it:  3.9/5

And the Mountains Echoed

Author: Khaled Hosseini

Page Count: 402

Genre: Historical fiction,  Family Drama.

Book Synopsis: 

Khaled Hosseini, the #1 New York Times–bestselling author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, has written a new novel about how we love, how we take care of one another, and how the choices we make resonate through generations. In this tale revolving around not just parents and children but brothers and sisters, cousins and caretakers, Hosseini explores the many ways in which families nurture, wound, betray, honor, and sacrifice for one another; and how often we are surprised by the actions of those closest to us, at the times that matter most. Following its characters and the ramifications of their lives and choices and loves around the globe – from Kabul to Paris to San Francisco to the Greek island of Tinos – the story expands gradually outward, becoming more emotionally complex and powerful with each turning page.

This book had a deep, and I meant it when I say, deep deep impact in my life. I would be barking half truth if I didn’t say this book made me a better person!
Khaled obviates from his normal narrative style and adopts one in the form of a string of short stories and letters, written in the perspective of it’s different characters, which makes it more personal, more down-to -earth and more closer to the heart! This combined with Khaled’s writing makes a really touching journey. Khaled’s flair for his homely writing is ever so clear here, as was it in The Kite Runner.

Here’s how it goes:

FALL 1952

So, then. You want a story and I will tell you one. But just the one. Don’t either of you ask me for more. It’s late, and we have a long day of travel ahead of us, Pari, you and I. You will need your sleep tonight. And you too, Abdullah. I am counting on you, boy, while your sister and I are away. So is your mother. Now. One story, then. Listen, both of you, listen well. And don’t interrupt.

At the end of reading this book you will re-realise that nothing, nothing supersedes family.

Emotionally breath-taking, it hits you right in the feels, repeatedly! Nostalgia has never been more nostalgic!

Khaled dextrously glides over countries, and even generations to give you this heart-wrenching masterpiece!  It’ll make you feel homesick even though (if!) you’re at home! A powerful story which extends to the variety that makes up a family, that glue a family ; starting from your mum and dad right up to the caretaker!

It took me a while to pick the pieces back up and get over this book! Also, this book is probably the reason I require glasses now!

Ratings:

Critics: 4/5

I’d rate it: 27.4/5

Kidnapped

  • Author: R. L. Stevenson
  • Genre: Thriller
  • No. Of pages: 136

One word, and only one word, can sum this book convincingly- Adventure. Adventures of a mere teenager who unwantingly risked his life only to be saved by a stroke of luck and some humanity.

One of R. L. Stevenson’s lesser known novels, Kidnapped, does justice to the smooth wit that Stevenson is famous for. The narration glides and flies through the heavy turmoils that the protagonist goes through.

Why, David,” said he, “the innocent have aye a chance to get assoiled in court; but for the lad that shot the bullet, I think the best place for him will be the heather.”… When it came to this, I gave Alan up. But he looked so innocent all the time, and was in such clear good faith in what he said, and so ready to sacrifice himself for what he deemed his duty, that my mouth was closed. Mr. Henderland’s words came back to me: that we ourselves might take a lesson by these wild Highlanders. Well, here I had taken mine. Alan’s morals were all tail-first; but he was ready to give his life for them, such as they were.

The only kink in this well oiled chain are the foreign words. As is quite evident from the excerpt above, the writing contains one too many Scottish words which are difficult for the non-Scottish readers to decipher. But mostly the context renders it proper meaning so even that problem is not much of a problem.

Lastly, the writing is filled with an adrenaline filled ride as the protagonist fights against all at land and sea, as we empathise with him and disbelieve him but constantly hope he gets what he badly seeks.

Ratings:

Critics- 3.8/5

I’d rate it- 4/5

The Importance of Being Earnest

Author: Oscar Wilde

Page Count: 76

Genre: Farce, Comedy, Drama (also a Rom-Com, if you may!)

Book synopsis: (Basically, a story of two bachelors, John ‘Jack’ Worthing and Algernon ‘Algy’ Moncrieff, who create alter egos named Ernest to escape their tiresome lives).

Movie Adaptation: The Importance of Being Earnest (2002)

Book outline: Play

This one is a Wilde one! The plot is really simple. A plot so plain with too many twists makes a classic that is The Importance of Being Earnest!
Oscar Wilde’s sharp wit is insuperable, and its judicious use in this social sattire is impeccable! The art of deceiving for love is portrayed enigmatically with comical consequences, as classy as literature could get!
The stock characters are as equally entertaining as the protagonists! Lady Bracknell was sassy long before it was cool. Algernon might as well be the founder of memes we have today. Also, isn’t faking a name  so much easier and less damaging than faking your entire identity to impress that lad/girl?
It ends with an overwhelming number of twists and consequently ends quite abruptly. You could say the climax of the story is quite at the end.
The writing is not your ancient English you would expect! The literature is quite modern, simple to understand and straightforward . Being an easy read, It’s not head-wrecking; Hell you don’t even need to sit with a dictionary or Google chapter/scene summaries! There is not even a single page mundane!

If you find classics uninteresting (and feel overwhelmed by or wanna get back at your collection of snobs that are your bookish friends who constantly quote classics), this one is for you! It’s really short so moreover you will finish it in an hour or two in a sitting.
Many of you must have been forced to read this one in your literature coursework! If you haven’t, this farcical comedy is definitely worth a shot!
Ratings:

Critics: 4.2/5

I’d rate it: 4.5/5

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl


Author: Jesse Andrews.
Genre: Drama, Comedy, Coming of age.

 Book Synopsis: High schooler Greg, who spends most of his time making parodies of classic movies with his co-worker Earl, finds his outlook forever altered after befriending a classmate who has just been diagnosed with cancer.

Page Count: 295.

Movie Adaptation: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (2015).


Step aside clichés where suffering from a chronic disease magically expands the scope of your love life.

Looking for something uncannily weird? Well, this one boasts of it, and well, yes it is the worldy weird! (Obviously the title itself is suggestive of its weirdness).

I personally didn’t like this book as much as I expected it to, but it is worth a shot because of it’s writing, which is not really “writing”, but just scrambled thoughts re-arranged legibly(Read: Jesse Andrews is a screen-writer).

Randomness was never better! You might relate with the protagonist or you might find Earl bemusing. I discovered the latter.

Here’s how it all begins:

So in order to understand everything that happened, you have to start from the premise that high school sucks. Do you accept that premise? Of course you do. It is a universally acknowledged truth that high school sucks. In fact, high school is where we are first introduced to the basic existential question of life: How is it possible to exist in a place that sucks so bad?

The novel is surpringly bone-tickling! Andrews has successfully managed to incorporate humor into a plot so heart-breaking!
My advice for a whacky novel like this? Be a weirdo,give it a shot (you might learn a weird thing or two,or not!), and then you can tell your weird folks about how you read a weird book about being weird.
It’s a perfect read for high school and college kids!

Go for it if you’re looking for a simple, casual read. Watch the movie for a synergistic effect.

x x Fin x x

Ratings:

Critics: 3/5

I’d rate it: 3/5

The Kite Runner

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  • Author: Khaled Hosseini.   
  • Genre: (Fiction) Coming-of-Age, Family Drama, War Drama, Semi-autobiographical.
  • Page Count: 372  
  • Book synopsis: Growing up in Kabul, Amir and Hassan are inseparable friends. As an adult living in California, Amir remains haunted by a childhood incident in which he betrayed Hassan’s trust. When he learns that the Taliban has murdered Hassan and wife, Amir returns to his homeland to learn the fate of the couple’s son.
  • Movie Adaptation: The Kite Runner (2007).  

                                                                                                            

Let me put forth a simple warning before you go any further…Inshallah this is a Masterpiece! (Or at least I think so!). If you’d want to start reading or are looking for fresh options(or rather, are tired of the common genres) this is definitely a starter!

 

The language/ text just flows smoothly and is really very down-to-earth. The reading is easier as it gets but what’s tough is the turmoil of emotions it takes you through throughout the experience.

Here’s how it starts (Chapter 1):

”I became what I am today at the age of twelve, on a frigid overcast day in the winter of 1975. I remember the precise moment, crouching behind a crumbling mud wall, peeking into the alley near the frozen creek. That was a long time ago, but it’s wrong what they say about the past, I’ve learned, about how you can bury it. Because the past claws its way out. Looking back now, I realize I have been peeking into that deserted alley for the last twenty-six years. ”

The depth and complexities of human relationships is highlighted and executed so well, it almost touches your soul! This book would definitely be a book you’d remember when you’re 80!
Set in Afghanistan, and then In America, Khaled manages to give the piece a pretty homely feel(you may definitely feel this once you pick the book up, especially if u live in an around the western subcontinent).

It captures the effect of war on people, and it troubles you to think what’s happening on this side of the world while you are enjoying the comforts of luxury and soft sheets.

The descriptions are non-exaggeratedly (Is that even a word?) mind-blowing.

“I can still see his tiny lowset ears and that pointed stub of a chin, a meaty appendage that looked like it was added as a mere afterthought. And the cleft lip, just left of midline, where the Chinese doll maker’s instrument may have slipped; or perhaps he had simply grown tired and careless.”

If this book doesn’t get you reading all of Khaled’s other works, I don’t know what will! (I wish he’d write more!).

The story is entirely fictional, but it involves locations Khaled has grown up in. He succeeds to give a ”real” feel to the book with his characters.
This is definitely a book I’d recommend if u want to start “reading” reading.
Also, if  this book doesn’t manage to scar you, we wouldn’t make good friends (haha!).

Obviously I’d recommend reading the book first. Watching the movie is up to you! (Let me be honest, the movie is not that of a big deal [And I don’t say this because it’s a small-budget film!] ) .

Warning: Contains certain mortifying contents. The journey itself is a turmoil.

 

Ratings:

Critics: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

I’d rate it: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥