Tuesday, 2 July 2013

The Perks of being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

"I just need to know that someone out there listens and understands. I need to know that these people exist."

This novel has been talked about so much since the recent release of the movie and so I decided to read it. Unfortunately, I did not enjoy the book as much as the movie; however, it was still a good, quick read which I would recommend.

The whole story is narrated by Charlie, a 15 year old boy who has suffered from schizophrenia and the novel takes the form of a collection of his letters which he has written to an anonymous friend. Charlie feels that no-one in his family understands him and his best friend, Michael, has just shot himself; therefore it is no surprise that he feels isolated at the prospect of starting high school. Throughout the novel though, Charlie manages to experience new things such as trying drugs and alcohol as well as having a girlfriend and performing in the Rocky Horror Show.

The two people who really help Charlie come out of his shell are Sam and Patrick. Sam is the girl who Charlie first kisses and who introduces him to the idea of feeling infinite (she stands at the back of the truck with music playing whilst someone drives through the tunnel), opening him up to a world which is very different from his previous one. Patrick also aids Charlie's transformation and despite being called 'Nothing' by the majority of the school, shows Charlie that happiness is obtainable and that everyone deserves to be accepted (as is shown through his secret gay relationship with Brad).

The Perks of being a Wallflower - film cast
One of the great features of Charlie's letters is a record of the books which his English teacher, Bill, has given him as extension reading. As a result of this American literature features heavily with Charlie mentioning works such as 'To Kill a Mockingbird' and 'On the Road'. It is not just literature, however, which Charlie talks about but music too with mixtapes often showing his true emotions. The inclusion of popular books, movies and music within these letters both help to show Charlie's personality as well as making the novel feel current.

Stephen Chbosky - the author
As I previously mentioned, this has been made into a popular film featuring Logan Lerman, Emma Watson and Ezra Miller. The plot closely followed that of the novel and this was probably because Chbosky wrote the film screenplay but seeing the characters in the flesh made the action easier to follow, in my view. I found the film more gripping than the novel but I am unsure whether this it just because I am not a great fan of novels written in letter form.

I would recommend either reading the novel or watching the film to people, especially those who are a fan of the 'coming-of-age' genre because it is a simple yet moving novel which should be shared.

Please let me know in the comments whether you feel the same way about the Chbosky novel/film because I would be really interested to hear other people's views.


No comments:

Post a Comment