The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Stephen Chbosky’s novel “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” first came out in 1999.  I was a year out of college, working at the literary agency as an assistant, trying to work my way up to being a literary agent.

I remember hanging out with someone in Berkeley after I had just read the book, and we walked into a bookstore where the book was displayed on the front table. “I’m going to read you the best line in this book,” I said. A teen girl tells a teen boy before she kisses him, “‘I want to make sure that the first person you kiss loves you. Okay?‘”

Okay. I know that’s really sappy, but I remember thinking that was like the sweetest most lovely thing I had read in a long time. I remember thinking that this book was such a gem, just little and wonderful. It is written in  a sort of confessional diary style, in the form of letters, by the 15 year old narrator Charlie to a “Friend.” Publishers Weekly gave it a pretty harsh review, calling it “a trite coming-of-age novel,” which I totally get, especially now that I’m older. But you know, whatever. I loved this book in that moment I consumed it, and I’ll remember it for that.

 

This was also an exciting time for me in publishing, because I was kind of just finding my way in the industry, and publishers were just starting to create imprints specifically marketed toward young adults/the MTV audience, and this was totally my jam. Young agents selling books to young editors to bring cool books to young people. My publishing career didn’t end up being that cool or anything, but there was this potential then in the early years that got me really pumped to be there.

Last Saturday night, I had a long overdue girl-date with Manda. We had mexican food and margaritas and went to see this movie together. There’s a certain part of the plot which has always really bothered me since reading the book (for being an easy way out, so to speak), but otherwise, I think the movie does a good job in capturing the spirit of the book, which is logical since the author also wrote the screenplay, produced, and directed the movie.

Part of me was like, “Kids are never this sweet to each other!” And another part of me was like, “Stop having crabby old-person thoughts!”

So, if you are a crabby old-person, you might want to skip this movie. But if you are young at heart and want to watch something sweet with kind of a dark ripple running through it, you should check it out. As I told Manda before we saw the movie, “It’s a teen movie, but it’s not, like, ‘She’s All That’ or ‘Bring It On.’ It’s serious. But the book was good.”

This entry was posted in Blog and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to The Perks of Being a Wallflower

  1. Sounds like so much fun, I’ve actually never heard of the book (or movie) but now I’m excited about it!

  2. RachelG says:

    I was really excited to see the movie, not realizing that it’s based on a book. Now I can’t watch the movie until I read the book! I’ll pick it up this week. Thanks 🙂

  3. MZ says:

    I had been wondering how the movie would turn out! I wasn’t sure if the fact that it was a movie would ruin the whole “letters written to someone” that made the book so good. This is going to be the sappiest thing ever, but I remember reading the book in high school and being like “I FEEL LIKE HE’S WRITING TO MEEEEEEEEE” hahaha

    • TwinkieChan says:

      They try to preserve that a little by using some voice-over, but I don’t think the movie lost too much in that respect. What I like about the movie also is that the author got to make it, and he was a filmmaker before he was an author.

      I feel you a little. When I worked in publishing, every time I read a book I loved , written by a dude, I instantly formed an author-crush. Jonathan Safran Foer, if you’re single and straight, I’m here for you!!!

  4. Dizzy D says:

    Why does Manda have vampire fangs? o.0

  5. Jenny Quest says:

    I didn’t realize the book was that old! I only even knew it existed because quotes from it have popped up in my Tumblr feed on several occasions, haha 🙂 However, that was totally enough to get me interested and it’s definitely on my list of must-reads! I’ll wait to see the movie until after I read it 🙂 Is it over-reaching to hope that it’ll have sort of a John Hughes feel? I miss teen movies like THAT!

    • TwinkieChan says:

      Hmmm, it didn’t immediately scream John Hughes to me. It wasn’t quite as frothy as a John Hughes. There are some dark themes in this book/movie.

  6. Cami says:

    I loved the audiobook and one of my students quoted the book in one of her college essay. I like the book. Not sure if I’ll see the movie, but I will reread the book! Great review, Twinkie!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *