Friday, May 21, 2010

The Perks of Being Patient

Disclaimer: This post is going to be entirely about The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. There are no spoilers, but I'm just warning those who may not have read it in case they get bored. But if you haven't read it, read the below post anyway, and then go read the book!

If any of you follow me on Twitter, you might have seen my multiple exclamation point tweet yesterday regarding the news that my favorite book EVER, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, is finally being made into a movie. I've mentioned my love of this book before (here, for example), but I think most people my age (especially you bookish types!) can remember reading it when it came out and thinking "finally somebody gets me!"

It seemed like such a small book at the time. Not many other people from my high school had read it (except for the select few who were forced to hear me rave about it). It wasn't until I went to college that I met people who had the same reaction to it that I had, and I realized what an effect it had on my generation. Since it still pops up on "banned books" lists, I assume (and hope!) that it's having that same effect on the next generation of insecure teens. The news of the movie finally being made, eleven years after its original publication, only confirms its continuing impact on young readers.

Since 1999, I've read Perks eight more times. As an older teen, I found I could relate to different characters in the book too, not just the main character, Charlie, anymore. In my early twenties, I felt more nostalgia when I re-read it, and now in my late twenties, I just want to give everybody a hug and tell them "don't worry, it all gets better!" Still, even after the many changes I've been through in my own life, I can still find ways to relate to the awkward, depressed, insecure, and ever-lovable Charlie.

News about the movie can be found here. Some obvious gripes: The inevitable "movie tie-in re-release," which you might remember from this post, I dislike. Also, I think Hermione (*ahem* Emma Watson) will make a good Sam, but I would've preferred someone more like Kristin Stewart, only younger and better. And yes, the kid playing Charlie sort of looks the part, but he's eighteen, and will only be older by the time they start filming. It's only a three-year age difference, but in teen years, that difference is huge, especially when playing a fifteen-year-old who already looks young for his age. But, then I think of Luke Perry on 90210, or the entire cast of Gossip Girl, and suddenly things don't seem so bad.

The one major perk for me, and everyone else, it seems, is that the author, Stephen Chbosky, is both writing and directing the film, which means it stands a chance of staying true to the book. It also means there's way less of a chance of "Nick and Norah-ing" it and making a great book terrible.

Some more obvious perks:
People will start talking about the book again!
Gen(whatever I am)-ers who were maybe just old enough to miss it the 1st time will read it for the first time!
Popularity of "non-paranormal" YA novels is reawakened!
1990s nostalgia sky-rockets and I can start wearing snap bracelets again! (OK, I'm getting ahead of myself, and a little out of control.)

Joking aside, there is something to be said for growing up in the '90s and I'm so happy that I did. Sure, every generation thinks theirs is "the best," but the '90s were as close to the '60s as us "children of boomers" were going to get. Even I was a little too young to fully appreciate it, since my teens also bled into the early '00s, but it's the decade that resonates most with me when I think of my own "coming of age" and The Perks of Being a Wallflower captured that perfectly for me at an age when I needed it most. There is no way the movie will live up to the book for me, but I still cannot wait to see it.

Thanks for bearing with me and my ode. 140 characters was just not enough space to talk about how excited I am that this book is back in my life. (Not that it ever left.)

5 comments:

  1. Your excitement about the book is contagious. I'm going to add it to my summer reading list. :)

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  2. BRILLIANT POST.

    I hadn't heard about the movie, so thank you! It's also one of my fave books and I am very excited to see that Stephen is writing and directing!

    I can't wait to see what comes of it!

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  3. Sarah, you had me at snap bracelets.

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  4. One of my close friends gave this to me in college, and it has had a prominent place on my bookshelf since then. I am always doubtful about book adaptations, but I'm going to let my optimistic side have a moment here and go on the record as saying this one could be great.

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  5. @Sarah - nice post.Am looking forward to seeing the book onscreen esp since Chbosky is directly involved. I think Logan Lerman who has already signed on for Charlie is a perfect fit. When I first read Perks, he was still starring in the short-lived WB series Jack and Bobby and his character is similar to Charlie so he can pull it off. It's already in pre-production status on IMDB so here's hoping it doesn't take too long to see the finished product. Also looking forward to a great soundtrack

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