So, this is my life. And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I’m still trying to figure out how that could be.
Charlie is starting high school, not long after the death of his friend, Michael. Charlie is a wallflower, observing school life from the outskirts. When his advanced English teacher tells him to participate in life, things start to change and Charlie starts to live. Forming friendships and learning about girls; standing up for others and coming to terms with everything good and bad that has happened in his short life.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a collection of first experiences, told in letter form through the eyes of an intelligent yet lonely boy. In short, it is just brilliant. From page to page, emotions go from high to low. Yet the actions are nothing dramatic, this is purely the life that many go through at school. Charlie isn’t explicit in explaining his emotions, which makes it all the more heart-breaking when he writes something which indicates how lonely or depressed he is. As an adult, we understand, as a confused teenager, he can’t quite grasp what he’s feeling.
But for all the heart breaks there is happiness and humour. Warm and touching, you should definitely read the book before going to see the film. Though I am late to the party and Perks is already a cult classic, deservedly so.
The early nineties really do feel like a different era! A world without internet and mobile phones; where a mix tape is a true definition of friendship. I’m not sure Perks would be quite so convincing in the present day. Charlie’s voice is a little too young and naïve as a 15/16 year-old by today’s standards. They definitely don’t need sex explaining to them at that age now but back then, information was a lot more restricted and it works in an historical way. I can’t believe I’m saying 1991 counts as a historical setting but seriously, so much has changed!
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