Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Book Vs. Movie: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Let's face it: most of the time, the movie sucks in comparison to the book. There are exceptions (Shawshank Redemption being the most often cited), but for book nerds like me, that's generally the rule. Imagine my surprise when I found a movie that was at just about the same level (not better or worse) than its book.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower came out when I was in high school, and it was immediately on my radar as something I wanted to read. Somehow, however, I never actually got around to reading it. This year, with the movie coming out, plus the fact that it's now such a staple of Young Adult literature, I finally made the plunge into reading it.

And I didn't love it. But I think that had more to do with me than the book itself. I'm more than a decade away from where I was when it was first released, and I'm decades more jaded than even that. I could appreciate the book for what it would mean to a teen, but I couldn't quite connect with it like I would have once. As a coming-of-age book, though, it's solid.

I saw the movie for Perks this past week with a friend, and I was surprised to find that I enjoyed it for completely different reasons than the book. Maybe because I was seeing it rather than reading it, I felt more attached to the emotions of the teens, and I thought the actors chosen were superb in their parts. I was also surprised to find that, while I enjoyed the movie as a whole more, I enjoyed the ending of the book far more. Maybe it was because I knew that little twist was coming, or maybe because Chbosky (who not only wrote the novel but also wrote and directed the film) meted out more hints to the twist throughout the film, or maybe because the reveal in the book lent itself to the style of the book (letters to an anonymous "you").

On the whole, I think I liked the movie a little better, but I found the book and the movie to be quite comparable. Can we have more authors adapt and direct their own books, please? I'll be curious to see what else Chbosky directs in the future.

Do you have any book/movie combos that you love equally?

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