March 12th, 2016

planet

the perks of being a wallflower

Book 4 on the Frequently Challenged Book List was the perks of being a wallflower by Stephen Chbosky.

Wouldn't recommend it. It's a high school drama that reads like everything that could possibly happen in an after school special. It reminded me of the family guy parody... "Everything important is happening in front of THESE LOCKERS!" I found the main character to be vague and totally unrelatable, maybe because he's a 14 year old kid who, in an attempt to be a great writer, really dances around everything he's trying to say. It's written as a sort of journal and it's interesting to see his writing style improve throughout the book but starting out? Painful!

In the book, there's a very nice teacher who encourages him. In my experience this is a great way to make a bestseller - write your teacher characters as life-saving, because high school reading lists are chosen by teachers. I accused Catcher in the Rye of doing the same thing and I'm pretty sure the "good teacher" is a prime reason why we're all listening to these whiny oppressed high school boys as main characters in our english classes.

There's a movie version of the book so we rented the movie and Marc really liked it, and I had to admit the movie was an improvement over the book. The main character was NOTHING like the whiny twerp I pictured in my head... that's when I did some math and realized that when the main actor, Logan Lerman, starred in this movie he was 20 years old. I realize this happens all the time... nobody wants to put real teenagers on TV, apparently? But there is a huge difference between 14 and 20! The movie, released in 2012, did a decent enough job with the early 90s soundtracks and references to cassette tapes, but it still didn't feel like it was set in the 90s, the clothes weren't grunge enough, it was like a 2012 movie with mix tapes.

Back to the book... the teacher wants the kid to read The Fountainhead. That right there should tell you something awful.

It's also littered with song references, which I think is kind of lazy - using tons of song and book references feels to me like co-opting a vibe that other artists created.

The book is frequently challenged in high school classes because it has gay characters, sex, drugs, and alcohol. After school special!

So that was my weekend read, 4th on this book list but it's the only book I'd say I was disappointed with. 2 to go.