Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Perks of Being a Wallflower: My Review

 Two years ago, when I saw the first poster for The Perks of Being a Wallflower, I squealed out loud with joy. One of my all-time favorite books was being translated into a movie and some of my favorite actors were playing the characters. Waiting for it was excruciating, seeing stills slowly appear. Then it finally came to theaters. But not just any theater! To my dismay, the first few weeks it was only playing in major cities. I had to wait an extra month just for it to come to my city!

It finally did though and I was not disappointed. In fact I was overjoyed. The author of the book was also the director of the movie! That's really exciting to someone like me who dreams of writing a best-selling novel someday. Especially considering I already have a soundtrack lined up for my book...

Anyways, the movie was absolutely incredible. I experienced a whole range of extreme emotions. I laughed, I cried, I cringed, I empathized. It really delivered! Jared and I went together as a movie date night, and he loved it as well! Perks was completely accurate to the book, albeit leaving out a few minor details that weren't crucial to the plot. The actors did a fantastic job, I was 100% sucked into it.

Time to get a little personal here. This book meant a lot to me growing up. I first picked it up when I had just moved to Alaska. I was 16, and had 0 friends there. My mom would take my brother and I to the library just about every day. On one of the said trips, Perks caught my eye. The paragraph on the back cover hooked me pretty quickly, promising a coming of age story about a wallflower, Rocky Horror Picture Show, and The Smiths, all things I was very fond of.

I became engrossed very quickly, and it was very curious how deeply the book affected me. Whatever was happening to main character Charlie, changed my outlook on the day. When things were going great for Charlie, I was in a great happy mood. When things started to get sour for him, I found myself very bitter. My mom even noticed and seemed puzzled by my daily mood swings. That is how attached I was to this book. That is how well Chbosky writes his characters.

Not only that, but I really really relate to Charlie, and watching it on film brought all those feelings back from reading the book the first time around. I'm a wallflower as well. I'm very shy, and if I'm around people I don't know very well, I stay back in the background and don't speak.  In the beginning, when he's sitting alone at lunch reading, and no one talks to him, I can see myself doing the same when I first moved. When he first makes friends with the older seniors, I remember when I did the same. The way he falls so helplessly in love with everyone, and puts everyone before himself was something I did as well in high school. 

The worst of all, how he struggles with his past and how it effects him. While I thankfully never went through what he did, I know what its like to feel like you're damaged because of what you've been through. How you have that baggage, and you don't want it, and you try to forget it, and some days are such a fight to survive. How greatly loss affects you.

And yet it comes out with such a positive message. Perks shows how there's always that light at the end of the tunnel. Every time things get so dark, and you think Charlie's just going to fade out, the light comes back. There's hope, there's change. The message that you can't change where you come from or your past, but you can control where you're going and your future is so powerful. That there are people that love you so much, and that there are those moments where you realize you are alive and surviving and that itself is enough to make you keep going. I love that. I still remember the chills I got when I first read that line "and in that moment, I swear we were infinite".

This is a pitch perfect movie, and I am definitely going to buy it when it comes out on dvd. If you love a good high school movie/coming of age story, you really really need to watch/read Perks.

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