Observing from the Sidelines   4 comments


I’m probably not alone in my preference to read the book before I see its film adaptation. The Perks of Being a Wallflower was no exception. I am now anxious to watch the movie.

Stephen Chbosky’s novel is told through letters written by Charlie, an insecure 15-year-old, to an unknown recipient. Charlie’s letters are brutally honest in their reflection of his life as the youngest of three children in a traditional family. It’s clear from the outset, though, that he is far more sensitive than most teenage boys. Sure, he faces teen angst like most kids, but his sensitivity and intelligence set him apart from his peers. Through what can only best be described as chutzpah, he introduces himself to Patrick and Sam (Samantha) – step-siblings in their senior year. Charlie is a freshman, but his new friends don’t seem to mind and welcome him into their circle.

As Charlie becomes more involved with his new friends, he discovers that he is not the only teenager with problems. His letters reveal more and more about himself and those around him. It’s evident that his issues are intense: misplaced guilt and an ability to keep a family secret he shouldn’t be burdened with. Lingering in the background are topics of sexuality, identity, and perceptions.

Charlie may never be a popular boy, but he has friends and family who care deeply about him. Even for those of us long removed from school days, it’s still possible to appreciate the value of those intangibles.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Four Bookmarks
Gallery Books, 1999
213 pages


4 responses to “Observing from the Sidelines

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  1. Pingback: I’m probably no… | The Meandering Musings of a Media-Consuming Mom

  2. When my son was younger, and we did things like go to the movies together, if a movie we wanted to see was based on a book, we always read the book first. My son’s opinion is that the books were much more engaging, requiring us to use our imagination instead of having the movie director’s vision of what part of the story was important.

    • I agree with your son. Reading the book first allows my imagination to engage. I enjoy movies a lot, but it’s much more fun for me to imagine the different elements.
      And I remember those days of doing things together with my sons. They don’t happen too frequently anymore.

  3. Another book we have in common, not to mention the book before movie thingy. I will say that sometimes a film release will remind/inspire me to read a book that’s been lingering on my shelf, which was the case with this one. I did really like it. http://alenaslife.wordpress.com/2012/12/06/a-november-reading-wrap-up/

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