"To be a Wallflower" by Saffron Maeve

June 3, 2018

To be a wallflower is to dance around the edges so as to not disrupt the pulsating center. To yearn for a moment engrossed in the magic middle; where you are loved and the world makes sure of it. But, to ultimately find comfort back in those edges of the party— to breathe steadily in one’s solitude. A wallflower will keep your secrets, listen to your stories, and find themselves in your center, not along your edges. These are the people with the most stories to tell; not the ones drunk on a Saturday night in a stranger’s basement, but those who watched it all happen. Sometimes, they do it to feel whole, to fill themselves up with others’ lives and experiences because their own were scarce or unbearable. Other times, they just like being full of information that is meaningless to them, but is life-altering to others. There is a strange power to being a wallflower and there is a stranger power to being Charlie.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is one of the most intelligent and articulate novels and films ever created. Both mediums center around Charlie, a high school freshman struggling with the typical clashes of adolescence as well as emotional trauma. Charlie’s emotional trauma is derived from being sexually abused by his aunt, whom he believes died because of him, as well as the deliberate death of his best friend. Subjects this heavy are often too difficult to depict, especially in the short span of 105 minutes, but Chbosky handles it brilliantly. We delve into Charlie’s life so as to understand him and we always know just enough to analyze him, but never enough to actually grasp him. It is like this with every character; we encounter them like we would encounter people in real life. We are the wallflowers of this narrative.

From Rocky Horror and secret Santa to typewriters, tunnels, and the infinite nature of friendships, there are so many special moments within the film that I carry with me. I always say that I’ll write a thorough review of every detail, no matter how seemingly minute. Every glance, nuance, and quote together explained eloquently and neatly. After years of this empty promise to myself, I have given up. There are not enough words to stretch the breadth of this story, nor would I have the capacity to write them. Some things are better left unsaid.

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