Aha! You thought I'd forgotten about that reading challenge I put myself up for, didn't you? Well, I haven't, and I'm pretty proud to tell you I made it to the finish line just in time. I turned the last page of Stephen Chbosky's The Perks of Being A Wallflower on the 31st of January (close call!) and am complety ready to start on February's book. I'll introduce it to you in this post, along with a few words on January's reading material.
You've probably heard about The Perks of Being a Wallflower, I'm sure. In fact, there's a big chance you've already read it and/or seen the (amazing) film adaption of Chbosky's bestseller ever since its popularity got a real boost around 2011, when the film, starring Logan Lerman, Emma Watson and Ezra Miller, was first announced. That's why I thought writing you a classic review was a bit of a stretch since you probably already know all about it. Instead, I thought I'd give the whole thing a more personal approach. This means I'll dive right into what I felt while reading this book without going into the details of what it's about, so if you haven't actually read it or seen the film, you might feel a bit left out at some points... In which case: a big sorry in advance! I really recommend reading or watching it, it's damn near perfect in every way. If you have, however, read it: let's talk Perks!
THINGS THAT STRUCK A CHORD
The thing with Perks is that, while the book is without a doubt quite upsetting at times, it's still an endearing coming of age story and very uplifting in a sense that every character in it is so recogniseable. I have never read a book so representative of my own thoughts back when I was a teenager, and perhaps even now, actually. While Charlie has to deal with a lot more issues than the average teen (thankfully), I instantly felt like I was him while reading the book for the first time, and I think there's a lot of us who've been him at one point; a bit awkward, afraid to show and talk about your own feelings and putting other people's lives ahead of your own. I got that. I've been and am Sam, insecure and accepting the love I think I deserve. I've been and definitely am, in fact, Patrick. Masking every struggle with a ton of humour. While all of that might get you down at one point, this book doesn't. It affirms life, really, and provides us with a heap of comfort and courage to put all our little insecurities behind us. The characters all have flaws, but they help each other through them with wisdom only a teenager (specifically Emma Watson, am I right?) can come up with.
Now, all of that might still sound a bit too depressing and that really doesn't do the story any credit on its feel-good side. Charlie's one-liners are nothing short of brilliant, Patrick is one of the funniest characters I've ever read (Ezra Miller was PERFECT for the part) and Sam is just plain beautiful in every way. Really, if you're not in love with her at the end of the book or film, the only other option is you want to be her.
Above all else, this story reminded me of how absolutely thrilling, exciting, - scary - and fun it was to be that young. I realised I'd experienced those infinite moments, and it made me think that we're never really too old to strive for more of them.
One of my favourite things about the book is Charlie's love for novels, and even more so: music. He's got pretty good taste for a fifteen-year-old, seriously, and so do his friends Sam and Patrick. This leads to a downright beautiful moment, especially in the film. You probably already know which moment I'm talking about, right? In the book, the song playing when Sam, Patrick and Charlie are driving through the tunnel is never mentioned by title. It's just described as the perfect song for a moment like that, so when Chbosky decided on Heroes by David Bowie for the scene in the film it couldn't have been more perfect. I mean, bring on the waterworks, jeez... You'd feel infinite for a lot less.
The rest of the songs Charlie puts on mixtapes, along with the music used in the film were so brilliant that I decided to throw them all together in a playlist on Spotify. Go ahead and give it a listen right here:
I have to be honest and admit that I made it pretty easy for myself in February. I chose T.S. Eliot's collection of poems about a bunch of feline characters. It's a treat, really, and the basis for the musical Cats (which I am finally going to see in April, hurrah!). It just seemed like a perfect fit for this short month, since it's a quick read AND I'll be living with two of those weirdos from this Sunday on. I can't wait!
Any thoughts on The Perks of Being A Wallflower? And how's your reading going? ;-)