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Every month, TAB editor Kristin will be sharing her thoughts on five titles from our… Read More

June 1, 2016

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The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Me

About four months ago I found out there was going to be a movie based on one of my favorite books of all time. The Perks of Being a Wallflower was finally coming to the big screen, and even better, it was being adapted for the screen and directed by the author, Stephen Chbosky. Words cannot describe how excited I was to see this film.

This book came to me on my 16th birthday. I’d recently moved away from the town I’d spent my whole life in, and I was down in the dumps. Then my best friend sent me a birthday package with The Perks of Being a Wallflower and messages from all the friends I’d had to leave behind.

The book opens:

“Dear friend,”

And so we meet Charlie. Charlie is writing to a stranger because he needs someone to talk to. It’s written in the voice of a lonely, troubled 15-year-old just starting high school, and Chbosky manages to capture that voice so well. It felt like he was in my head when I read it the first time. The book takes place in 1992, a time of mix tapes and rebellion, of zines and new friends. It was my introduction to a lot of tough issues, and I’m happy to say it helped me to develop the open-mindedness with which I think about those same issues today. To this day, Charlie’s story makes me cry. I hear similar stories from friends who got to know the book in those early years of high school. What we casually refer to as Perks created an instant and lasting connection.

So back to this movie. I got to see it on Saturday, after months of waiting, and while it wasn’t a page-to-page rendition of the book, it was still perfect. It was still Perks. It grasped the time and feeling of needing someone (anyone!) to be there. There’s a moment when, at Charlie’s first-ever party, Sam leans over to Patrick and says: “I don’t think he has any friends.” And Patrick quiets the room, raises a glass, and toasts Charlie for being a wallflower, for watching and listening. Charlie responds: “I didn’t think anyone noticed.” And I swear, I am getting goosebumps just writing this. This story is for anyone and everyone who has ever felt broken and just wanted to be rebuilt.

Read the book, watch the movie…and remember that you’re infinite.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is available in BookBeat right now.

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One Response

  1. J.Poe

    I agree the book and movie were both excellent. I took my 12 year old to see the movie and she enjoyed it. I often read books for tweens and young adults so I can recommend them to her when I find a good one.

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