Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks Of Being A Wallflower is a series of letters sent from a teenager under the alias name Charlie. He writes to the reader his journey of his freshman year, dealing with substantial issues that many teenagers can relate with.
As the reader, we get to see Charlie transform as he tries to move on after the death of his best friend, Michael. His only other friend, who was Michael’s former girlfriend, was no longer interested in being Charlie’s friend. We start off the book with a lonely teenage boy trying to cope with this situation by writing his letters to an anonymous recipient.
Imagine yourself on the receiving end of these letters – learning about the life of a young boy, his ups and downs, his feelings, and his inner thoughts. This kind of narrative make the readers feel obliged to keep Charlie’s secrets. We are simply here to know and are trusted with his story as an everyday wallflower trying to break out his shell.
That’s the great thing about this book. The unique narration captures my attention as I strive to learn more about Charlie. Right off the bat, there was some sort of force that wanted me to dig deeper into what he says because it intrigues me. Taking into account with the title, Charlie observes everything, but does not speak about, until he writes about them. He talks about his relationship with his English teacher, Bill, who sees the potential in Charlie and introduces him to classic novels, and encourages him to write essays based on them. Charlie also speaks of his new friends, Sam and Patrick, who are outsiders like him. They introduce him into a new social circle, new experiences like partying, drugs and alcohol, and help him get his first girlfriend. They try to get him to live and experience his life, rather than observe it. Read more…
When I read The Perks of Being a Wallflower in Grade 9, I was a slightly awkward freshman just like Charlie, trying to make friends and get involved in school. Even though I didn’t deal with the same problems as the book’s protagonist, there were evidently times when I felt alone.
The book’s author, Stephen Chbosky, knows these feelings all to well. On hand to present Perks’ film adaptation at TIFF (which Chbosky also directed), he reminded everyone in the theatre they should never feel lonely. “I’m so proud to be sitting in a room with 1200 people. Whether you like this movie at the end of the day or you don’t, just know that no one in this room is alone.”
His book gathered a cult following when it was released in 1999 and still resonates with many young people who deal with the universal challenges of growing up.
The film stars Logan Lerman as Charlie, a bright yet awkward teen about to enter his freshman year of high school. Having spent time at the hospital to deal with the recent suicide of his best friend Michael, Charlie decides to cope with his loneliness by writing anonymous letters.
Hopeful for the upcoming school year, Charlie’s reserved and introverted nature initially makes it difficult for him to make friends. But once he meets the eccentric Patrick (Ezra Miller) and his beautiful stepsister Sam (Emma Watson), he’s soon introduced to a new world featuring mix-tapes, parties, sex, drugs and alcohol.
As things begin to look up for Charlie, curveballs continue to be thrown his way. He fights his growing feelings for Sam and struggles to push away unresolved memories of the past, all while realizing his friends have problems of their own too.
Things I loved:
The chemistry between actors is crucial in a coming of age story that focus a great deal on love and friendship, and the film couldn’t have chosen better leads. While Watson may forever be known as “that girl from Harry Potter,” it’s nice to see her tackle a more challenging role like Sam, a troubled girl who sleeps with boys for validation. Although she experiences a few challenges with her American accent, Watson flawlessly depicts Sam’s insecurities about getting into university while trying hard not to be Charlie’s dream girl.
However, it’s Lerman and Miller who shine in the movie. While Miller steals scenes as the cynical and sarcastic Patrick, Lerman hits all the right notes by providing a heart-wrenching performance that’ll make you tear up. Also appearing, are Paul Rudd and Nina Dobrev as Charlie’s English teacher Bill and his sister Candace.
Featuring songs such as The Smiths’ “Asleep” to 80s hits such as Midnight Runners’ “Come on Eileen” and New Order’s “Temptation ‘87”, the songs in this film will either take you back to another decade or make you want to create your own mix-tapes.
How it stays true to the novel (includes photos from the premiere below!) Read more…
Even if the Harry Potter films have come to an end, Emma Watson plans on continuing her acting career. As reported by comingsoon.net, the actress has signed on to appear in the film adaptation of the popular novel, The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
Summit Entertainment has acquired the rights to the film. The movie is written and will be directed by Stephen Chbosky who also penned the novel that was published in 1999. John Malkovitch will be executive producer of the project which is set to begin filming in the summer.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a coming of age story that revolves around 15-year-old Charlie (Played by Logan Lehman) , a high school misfit with a big heart who is forced to cope with first love (Watson), the suicide of his best friend, and his own mental dilemmas while trying to find a place where he belongs. The story is set in the early 1990s and explores the common adolescent themes of sexuality, drug abuse, and love.
The book was and continues to be extremely successful. The film will hopefully sustain the originality and quirkiness of the book. With Chbosky directing, Malkovitch producing, and Watson starring, the project could be a success.