Review by Pasquale
Stephen Chbosky is an American novelist, screenwriter and film director, best known for writing the New York Times best-selling coming-of-age novel, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, first published in February 1999. He also wrote the screenplay for Rent, and was the executive producer and the writer of the TV series Jericho.
Stephen Chbosky, acting as a director and screenwriter, adapted his novel into a film, which was released in 2012. Of course, Chbosky directed the film to be as accurate to his book as possible, and it was evident, for many specific details in the book were emphasised in the movie.
Logan Lerman acted as the protagonist, Charlie Kelmeckies. He is best known for playing Percy Jackson in Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightening Thief, and Sea of Monsters. He also starred as Lou in Stuck in Love. He played Ham in Noah, a film that’s currently in post-production, and at the moment, he’s filming Fury, playing as Norman Ellison.
Ezra Miller plays Patrick, one of Charlie’s few friends. He is best known for playing Kevin in We Need to Talk About Kevin, and Elliot in Another Happy Day. He is currently filming Madame Dovary, acting as Leon Dupuis.
Emma Watson starred as Sam. She is best known for her role as Hermione Granger in the eight Harry Potter films. She featured in Ballet Shoes and lent her voice to the animated film The Tale of Despereaux. She played Nicki in The Bling Ring, and she had a supporting role in the apocalyptic comedy This is the End, where she played herself. She’s also starring as Ila in Noah.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower follows a fifteen-year-old boy Charlie through his freshman year at a high school in a Pittsburgh suburb. He is the eponymous wallflower in the novel; he sees things, he keeps quiet about them, and he understands. Intelligent beyond his years and an unconventional thinker, Charlie is also shy and unpopular; his only friend, Michael, had committed suicide the year before. The book begins with Charlie writing letters to an unknown recipient about his life.
Reserved, introspective, bright, yet socially awkward, Charlie was watching everyone live their lives, leaving his own on standby. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a compelling story of adolescent angst, confusion and joy. It takes a unique intellect to narrate the story from Charlie’s point of view. Stephen Chbosky truly captures the essence of the coming-of-age novel.
I really liked Charlie’s mind, and how he used to overthink every little detail about the people that surrounded him. There wasn’t one part of the book that felt rushed — though how Chboksy managed to do that in such a short novel surprised me, especially as it describes Charlie’s life for the entire year. I especially loved the scene where Charlie helped Patrick out of a particularly tough spot (those of you who have read the book know what I’m talking about). It really struck me, because that was when I realised that Charlie really does value his new-found friends (and it was totally badass!).
I found the big reveal at the end quite shocking, and rather disturbing (for the review to remain spoiler-free, I cannot indulge in any details). I felt quite sorry for Charlie, as anyone would, for going through what he had. However, that incident in his life didn’t change or affect his personality at all, and I quite like that sort of resilience.
My favourite quote is: “We all accept the love we think we deserve,” — Bill (who was Charlie’s English teacher). I had to put the book down and close my eyes after reading it. It’s quite a wise saying, because if someone has a higher self-esteem, they won’t settle for someone who treats them badly. And to be honest, I think that that’s a lesson that many of us need to learn.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a fantastic book to read altogether. One second, your eyes will be full of tears of laughter, and the next, tears of sadness. Set in the 1990’s, it deals with the first few steps into adolescence, friendship, dates, drugs, drink and sex. Therefore, I would recommend it to those over the age of thirteen.
I would rate it 8/10.
Here is the trailer: