Thought Catalog

The Perks of Being Adapted into a Film

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Do you know what it takes to feel infinite? If you’ve ever read Stephen Chobsky’s coming of age novel, The Perks of Being A Wallflower, you might have an idea. Even though the book was published over a decade ago, it’s had a lasting legacy among alternative alienated teens for its honest unflinching depiction of youth.

Recently, there’s been rumors swirling around of a film adaptation starring Emma Watson as Sam, the apple of the narrator, Charlie’s, eye. Those can now be confirmed with the news that Summit Entertainment—the same studio responsible for those freaky vampire Mormons in Twilight—is interested in distributing the film. Prior, John Malkovich was producing the project independently and the film’s future was uncertain.

News of the project moving forward will either delight or worry die-hard fans of the book. The Perks of Being A Wallflower was deeply personal, tackling issues of rape, incest and homosexuality with a bravery that was uncommon and controversial for young-adult fiction. In fact, in 2009, Perks won the honor of being third on the American Library Association’s list of “most frequently challenged” books.  When any piece of literature, film or album  resonates with an outcasted faction of people, there is usually a sense of ownership that develops amongst its fans. They get protective and territorial over the work and fear that, by becoming bigger with a mainstream audience, it will lose its “specialness.” It’s an interesting reaction. Do fans of Ke$ha feel the same sense of possessiveness as fans of a band like Orange Juice do? Were fans of Eat, Pray, Love worried to see it turned into a film?

Granted, there’s been no vocal outrage yet, and the fact that the writer, Stephen Chbosky, has written and plans to direct the film, helps assuage any fears fans might have. I, for one, am very excited to see Perks on the big screen. As a vulnerable closeted teen, the book brought me much-needed comfort during the scary days of high school. I just hope they hire someone cute to play Patrick, Sam’s gay stepbrother.  He always seemed like a babe to me. TC mark

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    • saramcgrath

      i thought the central conflict in that book was about finding appropriate music to have casual sex to

      incest rape what

      • Guest

        Charlie goes crazy because he was abused it's opaque but it's there

        • EM

          Opaque? You'd have to be fucking stupid or not have read the end of the book not to get it….

    • http://twitter.com/bookcat L Shap

      It's not just with marginalized groups, necessarily–look at the way nerdy Americans react when the US adapts British TV, or the way Comic Book People react to pretty much any comic book news. It's partially because whenever people like things that aren't mainstream popular, they become a member of a different “ingroup” called “people who are cool enough to agree with me on this thing,” because we're social creatures and need to feel like part of some sort of pack, and obviously our pack is “better” because we're in it. It extends to the atmosphere of online fandom–low-rated shows (which generally stay on the air because of they have critical acclaim or award nominations, so tha might be a mitigating factor) feel like awesome houseparties (i.e. Community), whereas the fans of hugely popular shows (Glee) feel like nightclubs, where there are way too many people and you can't hear anything but it's hypothetically still fun. (But then, there are those that prefer nightclubs IRL… and there are also people who watched Coupling on NBC and Desperate Housewives is still on the air…) Basically, this is what “hipster” means.

      More to the point I think this movie will not go _all_ that mainstream, so there will be those like you and I who will scoff at the n00bs and be like “I read this book in the 8th grade,” but those n00bs will push it on people all “Oh my god, you've never seen Perks? The book is pretty great too” and look down on their new friends the same way we do them.

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