I was introduced to a book in my late teens: Stephen Chbosky's The Perks of Being a Wallflower. It was a fast read – it only took me two days or so – and it was incredible to my young mind. It was, of course, written for my age group: awkward teenagers. Of course, as I was raised religious and stuck to it until I moved away from home, I didn't have to encounter much sex and drugs and alcohol like young Charlie and his friends in the book – but it wasn't about that stuff; it was about a kid who just didn't fit in and yet was able to find a niche for himself. For years, whenever I had a rough patch in my life, I would read the book and feel better.
Naturally, when the film adaptation was announced, I was hesitant. I knew that Chbosky himself would be writing and directing, and that was cause for some comfort, but then I saw the trailer and had serious doubts. Nevertheless, I saw it – and I loved it. It evoked all the same emotions that came from reading the book, and at the end of it, I was quite satisfied.
(A note about film adaptations of beloved books: everyone whines that “the book is always better” [which isn't true], but I have a personal policy of trying to forget the book when I watch its adaptation and let it stand on its own merits. Sometimes, though, it's hard not to compare, and so I was thankful that it had been years since I read the book, and thus many aspects had been forgotten. Thinking back to the book post-viewing, though, I realized that several key scenes had been omitted or toned down, and this led to an interesting train of thought. The film is rated PG-13, because it has a specific target audience Chbosky is trying to reach. A completely faithful adaptation would be rated R, thus much of his target would miss out; I ended up miffed at the censorship in place in our country via the ratings system [for more information, see: This Film is Not Yet Rated]. Nevertheless, it's a good adaptation.)
Tonight and tomorrow, Friday and Saturday, the Floyd Theater will be screening The Perks of Being a Wallflower at 5:00 and 8:00. The Floyd Theater is located on the third floor of the Student Activities Center on the U of L campus (look for the clock tower). Admission is $1.50 for students and $3 for the general public. Complete information can be found at the Facebook event page.
Image: Internet Movie Database