So I watched The Perks of Being a Wallflower yesterday and I was thrown for a loop. I was not expecting that. How could that book pass me by? It was written in 1999 and yet I haven’t heard a thing about it. I agree with my Dad, though, I would never have bought a book with “wallflower” on the title. It’s very deceptive.
So I came into the theater without any knowledge of what the movie was going to be about. I never read the book and based on the trailer, which I’ve seen only once, I suspected it was a coming of age story of a young boy and a young girl and their discovery of first love. It looks like a love story.
But it is more than that. It is so much more than that.
The movie jumped out of the screen and grabbed me by the heart and began pounding it relentlessly. I connected to it in so many levels that I was left breathless. I was crying twenty minutes in, and by the time it had reached its climax, I was a mess. The last twenty minutes, I was covering my mouth with my handkerchief because I would have sobbed otherwise.
The movie is beautiful. Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, and Ezra Miller are everything. But Emma Watson is everything. Logan Lerman is everything. My God. I stepped out of the theater, in a haze, and walked straight up to Fully Booked and bought the book. I didn’t even remember walking. I just realised when I was at the cashier, paying for the book, that I had gone straight there.
All my insecurities came out. All the things I believe in — in love, in life, in growing up, in being invisible, in wanting to feel like I belong — all these things were so elegantly portrayed in the film. The acting was pitch-perfect, the direction was expertly done, the music was fantastic. The Smiths? David Bowie? Oh my God! Where has this film been all my life? And had I seen this when I was still in high school, or in college, I think things would have changed completely.
It changed me. The last time I felt this way because of a film was The Thin Red Line by Terrence Malick. That film destroyed my perception of the world and changed so much of how I viewed it. After watching The Thin Red Line, I was crying and crying and crying and pacing around the dining room table for two hours. The next two days, I was floating from moment to moment in a daze. Did I just see that? How was he able to acquire that level of truth? It rocked my world.
Ruby Sparks was magnificent but it wasn’t as overwhelming as The Perks of Being a Wallflower because while the former touches on all that I believe in when it comes to love, the latter touches on all the things I believe in about love and life and people and social structures.
I don’t know if I’ll even survive reading the book. I haven’t been listening to music and if you know me, you’d know my music is always blaring from my speakers, at any given moment. I am never without music. I haven’t been able to put it on. I’m afraid of what I’ll do.
I actually have stopped thinking about writing my novel. I’ll do my memoirs because I have to. But I was thinking of just focusing on my poetry and my scripts. But I realised, after watching this film, why I haven’t been able to finish my memoirs. It’s because it is not the story I am supposed to tell. It’s not the story that I am emotionally invested in.
There is something else, a different story that I have to write first. It’s what I talk about it with my friends, and the casual jokes I make when I’m with my family, and evasive and humorous way I deflect a certain issue. This has everything to do with that one thing that has eluded me my whole life. That’s the story I need to write first. My memoirs can wait.
I’ve been writing it in poetry all this time but this needs a narrative flow. It needs to be culled. This cannot be hidden.
I know how to do this now. Fucking The Perks of Being a Wallflower changed my God damned life. I didn’t see that one coming. And I’m going to watch that film again. And I’m going to read the book. And I’m going to be broken up and I’m going to put myself back together.
But this time, I’m going to do it right.