The Perks of Being a Wallflower movie, based on the novel by Stephen Chbosky, is now in limited release and is set for a nationwide release in the US on Oct 5th.
So what’s the book and movie about? Well let’s take a look at them – starting with the book, and without giving too much away!
The coming-of-age novel was published in 1999. The main character is an almost sixteen year-old boy name Charlie. We have insights of Charlie’s freshman year in high school through his letters, written to an anonymous friend.
A troubled teen, he the third child of an ordinary middle-class family, trying to get control of his life after his best friend’s suicide. He is panicky, thinking too much, and fragile, which means he is usually easy to cry. Basically he is, what the other students refer to as a “freak”. That is until he meets the stepsiblings, Patrick and Samantha. Then, things have start to change.
But this is no sweet teenage boy becomes an adult story. It has intensely adult themes including suicide, drugs, abortion, and abuse.
You might think someone like Charlie to be a loner, but he is not. He has family and friends helping him. His family is supportive but somewhat distant.
Sam is helping him to find his own voice and move on. His friend Patrick is gay and has a boyfriend – even if there a homophobic language a few times through the book, he is accepted in their circle of friends -, his English teacher is his confidant. In the end, which you might find quite superficial, he finds out a family secret about himself, which caused his mental state, and was a complete shock. And the book ends with a hopeful last letter.
The book is in the first point of view, so we don’t know much about Charlie’s looks, which makes it easy to relate to him. But other characters are vividly laid out, which makes it very easy to connect with them. The epistolary writing is simple, yet well structured and alluring. And the writing style also made Charlie’s depression touchable, and what he has been through very real.
You can find connections with The Catcher in the Rye by J.D.Salinger, and its main character, Holden. The writer is has also noted Salinger’s influence on him, saying at LA Youth in 2001:
“I did, in part, reference The Catcher in the Rye as a tribute. But no more than This Side of Paradise, On the Road, and a host of other books that I loved growing up. I can see how people could compare Charlie to Holden Caulfield. At the same time, I think they are very different people with unique problems and perspectives.”
While the book is emotional, it does has its flaws. There are shallow and unrealistic moments, and way too many social messages.
And now back to the movie. The adaptation is directed by the book’s author, Stephen Chbosky, and he has proved to be as skilled in directing as in writing.
Logan Lerman (Charlie), Emma Watson(Sam) and Ezra Miller (Patrick) are the stars. Miller, as Patrick, brings life to the movie and makes the viewers overlook the weak parts. The movie, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, might not be as popular as the novel,but it is already called as “a lovely film” by many reviewers.
Have you read the book, or seen the movie? Did you like the ending? Leave your comments below…