Last weekend we had some friends over for an amazing dinner (slow fried chicken, lentils, endive salad) made by my husband and killer Old Fashioned’s (a bourbon cocktail) by my friend Susannah. After our friends left and we put the kids to bed and cleaned up, Adam passed out cold on the couch and I shuffled him into bed so that I could sit on the couch, watch a movie, and get some work done.
When I watch movies without the hubby, I try to choose ones that he doesn’t want to watch anyway. So that night I decided to watch “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” a film based on the Young Adult novel of the same name. I read the book this past summer, and it was solid. I didn’t love it, but I really liked it and felt that it honestly captured that awkwardness and brokenness that high school highlights. But the film, by far, was superior.
What made the film so beautiful? The characters were well cast, the acting was raw and believable, and I just *felt* high school oozing through my TV that night–the beauty, the pain, the feelings of inclusion and exclusion, the questioning of self, the friendships that save you, the relationships that break you, and the whole hot mess of trying to find your place in the world as you develop into the person you will eventually become through trial and error. I was completely drawn into their world, empathy and sympathy coursed through me, and it was as if I was there.
And, of course it helped that the setting seemed to be in the 90’s (based on the music), and I graduated from high school in 1992.
I had heard that the film was great, but I didn’t think it would be that great. I love being totally caught off guard like that.
Someday, I would love to develop a course on Young Adult Literature and the film adaptations. This is one weird case where I believe the film was better than the book. Hands down.
A student of mine this year, a community college freshman, wears his Class of 2012 (He graduated 20 years after me!!!) t-shirt often. It caught my eye because their class quote was from The Perks of Being a Wallflower, some of the last lines of the book. They read:
And I was really there. And that was enough to make me feel infinite.
So lovely. So profound.
Read the book and watch the movie, y’all. Highly recommended.