This week on Noe’s Choice, I’m looking at the emo high school classic “The Perks of Being A Wallflower.” Written by Stephen Chbosky, this story is filled with the pain, angst, love and loss that all of our hearts have at some point experienced. If one thing’s shared between the book and film versions of this story, it’s that many tears were shed while experiencing each one.
The characterizations in this book are so raw and real; my favorite part of reading the novel was recognizing aspects of their personalities in my friends and myself. With the wide range of topics that the book covers—from mental health to drug use to questions of sexual orientation and abuse — I feel that the book exposed teenagers to hard-hitting realities, as well as bringing a certain comfort with the consistently reinforced message that no one is ever alone. Another thing I appreciated was the style of the book — by framing the novel as letters from Charlie to his friend, Chbosky underscores Charlie’s shyness and feelings of loneliness he seems to feel all the time.
I also loved how the events of the book unravel; you aren’t just told flat out about all of Charlie’s past and problems all at once. Instead, Chbosky once again brings in a sense of realistic spontaneity. The highs and lows of Charlie’s high school experiences are very relatable. Personally, this novel opened up my eyes to what being a young adult actually entails. Adolescence is a painful yet passionate time, during which we seek our truth and try to define ourselves, lessons Charlie learns throughout the book.
Noe didn’t love:
When I last read the book, I felt as if there was too much going on. Especially if you are a binge reader, there can be an overwhelming amount of drama to process in a short amount of time. Despite this, “Perks of Being a Wallflower” has become one of my favorite works.
Because Chbosky was able to make his literary vision come alive on the big screen as director, the film was a seamless transition from the book. The dialogue, characters and images all came together in a way that was deeply satisfying as a fan of the book. Character-wise, the film’s casting was so spot-on; Logan Lerman made for an amazing Charlie, making me cry for the majority of the film. The soundtrack was also spectacular, which further contributed to the ambiance of the story. Overall, there’s not much different between the book and the movie, which is an extremely good thing to say about a film adaptation.
Noe didn’t love:
I know that one issue with all films is that there’s virtually no time for any of the good stuff. I felt like there was a lot of small but beautiful details from the book that the movie lacked. However, I am still proud that it was able to capture the spirit of the novel.
THE FILM. Although reading the book impacted in me in a great way, I feel like seeing the plot play out in real time was ground-shattering. I am a fountain of tears each time I watch it, as it makes me become aware of my own mental health and of the well-being of my friends. No one’s falling into a snow pile whilst incredibly high in order to avoid their problems on MY watch!