Almost immediately after watching The Perks of Being a Wallflower the movie, I bought the book for my Kindle. I didn’t really read it until today, though. Last night when I mentioned the movie on Facebook, I got mixed responses about the book. One person said they could hardly finish it because it was so depressing. Another person said they loved the book and the movie, but each for different reasons. Remember yesterday when I said the first time I read the book I thought it was overrated?
Well, I can see why the high school me didn’t like the book so much, but reading it today made me feel good.
And I can see why the book could feel depressing but to me it was filled with so much hope.
Even though I don’t have much in common with Charlie, the narrator and main character of the book/movie, I feel like knowing him makes me feel not so alone. And that’s the amazing thing about books – that even though Charlie doesn’t actually exist, someone dreamed him up and everything that makes him up exists out there in the world. And I think that if Charlie were real and he were around he would understand why I haven’t been able to get up in the morning since Strawberry died and he wouldn’t make me feel stupid for missing my cat so much. I don’t think he’d let me make myself feel stupid for missing my cat so much.
I firmly believe that to be a good writer you have to be a good reader. Just like to be a good teacher you have to be a good learner. But sometimes being a good reader can be a discouragement to a writer. I would like to be able to write a book, or to write a person rather, that makes someone feel things as deeply as Charlie makes people feel, but I’m not sure I can.
Anyway, I definitely loved the book and I already told you that I loved the movie, and at first I thought I loved them for different reasons but now I see that’s not true. I love the story because it’s gritty and real and a perfect portrait of how life sometimes sucks and is really hard but that doesn’t mean there aren’t good things. In the same vein, the good things in life don’t always cancel out the bad. Sometimes you have to take life one moment at a time, the good and the bad, living it for what it is and not trying to make everything balance out all the time.
Maybe it’s good to put things in perspective, but sometimes, I think the only perspective is really to be there. Like Sam said. Because it’s okay to feel things. And be who you are about them.
I think that Charlie gets it. He gets that relationships and friendships are the most important things. He gets that giving joy to other people can bring yourself joy, too. He gets that sometimes just being together is enough. And I want to have more of that in my life. More of the deeply known and deeply knowing relationships. Which are Triune and God-like relationships. Which I don’t think Stephen Chbosky was thinking about what we wrote about Charlie and his friends, but which I can’t help but think about when I think about myself and my friends.
After seeing a movie with Mary Elizabeth (in the book, not the movie), Charlie says (or writes, rather), “The movie itself was very interesting, but I didn’t think it was very good because I didn’t really feel different when it was over.” I feel different having read this book. You should try it. You might feel different, too.