In 2009, I heard of a book called The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky and posted a very short review on it. I thought I'd re-write it.
Fifteen-year-old Charlie writes a series of anonymous letters to the reader about his life as a freshman in high school. The book is told in first person, and Charlie writes the way he speaks. He is intelligent, perhaps scarily so, and he is passionate and curious. He is passive aggressive and loyal to a fault. Charlie befriends two seniors, Patrick and Samantha, who encourage him to open up and enjoy his first year at high school through his creeping depression. I especially loved his English teacher, who recognises Charlie's genius and encouraged him.
Charlie is very introspective, and as a wallflower, he spends a lot of his time people-watching:
My grandfather was crying. The kind of crying that is quiet and a secret. The kind of crying that only I noticed. I thought about him going into my mom's room when she was little and hitting my mom and holding up her report card and saying that her bad grades would never happen again. And I think now that maybe he meant my older brother. Or my sister. Or me. That he would make sure that he was the last one to work in a mill.
I don't know if that's good or bad. I don't know if it's better to have your kids be happy and not go to college. I don't know if it's better to be close with your daughter or make sure that she has a better life than you do. I just don't know. I was just quiet, and I watched him.
Charlie's experiences over the last year with his friends, the books he's read, his family situations and his memories make him into a very smart person, even is he is strangely naïve.
I think that if I ever have kids, and they are upset, I won't tell them that people are starving in China or anything like that because it wouldn't change the fact that they were upset. And even if somebody else has it much worse, that doesn't really change the fact that you have what you have. Good and bad. Just like what my sister said when I had been in the hospital for a while. She said that she was really worried about going to college, and considering what I was going through, she felt really dumb about it. But I don't know why she would feel dumb. I'd be worried, too. And really, I don't think I have it any better or worse than she does. I don't know. It's just different. Maybe it's good to put things in perspective, but sometimes, I think that the only perspective is to really be there. Like Sam said. Because it's okay to feel things. And be who you are about them.
The themes in the book may not be relatable to many teenagers, but the feelings of loneliness certainly are. It is a book that teenagers should be encouraged to read.
When I read the book, I found out that a movie was planned, but no details had been finalised. I recently read that the movie adaptation of the book is carded for release next year, 2012, although a confirmed date has not been set.
I got this from IMDB:
"Summit Entertainment recently sent out a press release revealing that the film adaptation of Stephen Chbosky’s young-adult novel The Perks of Being a Wallflower is still happening, and that Emma Watson of Harry Potter fame and The Lightning Thief’s Logan Lerman will still star. The major news is that Chbosky will compose the screenplay and direct the film."
I like Logan, although The Lightning Thief movie left much to be desired. I loved his character on Jack & Bobby back in 2004. Emma's performances have not impressed me much, although it has improved since the first Potter movie to the last. I just really loved Stephen's book and I hope that the movie adaptation doesn't ruin it.