Alumni High Plains Region

Feeling Infinite: Gearing Up For “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”

Heather Etelamakiby Heather Etelamaki
Alumni Epsilon Chapter
Alumna of Kansas State Univeristy

I am a firm believer that books come to you at the right moment. I refuse to believe it coincidental that I finally sat down to read The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky, just days after I’d returned from the convention last year. It’s a book that spoke to me not just as a reader and writer, but as a person. I’ll never forget that. Which is one reason why I’m excited to see the movie adaptation that comes out this month (playing in select theaters now, general release Oct 5).

Perks follows the freshman year of a teenager named Charlie. After the suicide of his best friend, Charlie enters high school and soon befriends two seniors named Sam and Patrick, who take him in. With their companionship, Charlie is finally able to, as he puts it, “participate,” and the reader is taken along as he tackles each new experience. It’s hard not to feel a complete kinship with Charlie as you’re reading; his character voice is magnificently honest and he feels things so purely as he reacts to each new and unique experience.

The last non-Potter/Hunger Games YA adaptation I was really excited for was Ned Vizzini’s It’s Kind of a Funny Story in 2010. It’s rare these days to find a solid film adaptation of a beloved book, and most especially a YA adaptation that doesn’t pretend to know what adolescence is truly like. But as soon as I heard that Stephen Chbosky, the author, was writing and directing the Perks film, my worries evaporated. It is, completely, his vision.

Photo courtesy of Summit Entertainment, LLC

One look at the trailer, and it’s clear the cast is the best it can possibly be. Logan Lerman plays Charlie, who befriends Ezra Miller’s Patrick and Emma Watson’s Sam. True to the book, it’s set in the early ‘90s. Each clip that has surfaced over the last few weeks leading up to the movie’s release has been promising. The cast seems genuine and passionate in interviews. And don’t get me started on the soundtrack!

My only worry is that, because of the film’s limited release, it might be hard to find a theater close enough to see it (a downside to living in the middle of Kansas). Regardless, my love for the book continues to grow, as does my excitement for the film. I have an entire box of Kleenex prepared for my movie buddy, Laura, and myself. It’s sure to be amazing.


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