So I’m a little late on The Perks train, but better late than never. This book written by the screenwriter and novelist Stephen Chbosky is a mix between the novels The Catcher in The Rye and Are You There, God? It’s Me Margaret and the play Driving Lessons.
The novel is epistolary (told through letters) and the main character Charlie shares information about his family, his love life, and his occasional drug use. Throughout the book he grows and learns more about himself, as does the reader.
There is a very nice balance of the delicate art of reveal within the book. Charlie tells his anonymous friend about himself that is not so obvious that the reader has already guessed what has or what is going to happen to him. The plot is solid and well structured, as well as the characters. Also the depiction of high school life is pretty spot on.
Like a lot of good books, this one has been adapted to screen and is currently out in local theaters. The author is also a screenwriter and took it upon himself to write and direct the movie, which I’m sure makes it a very interesting show. But again, this is a first person story, difficult to adapt to screen. Fine personality nuances are harder to articulate to a viewing audience when the are written or told in first person (unless you use voice over – for example all the horrific TWILIGHT movies – definitely another post). But the author adapted the book himself and when an author truly knows his characters he can avoid the trappings that can come along with adaptation.
Have you seen the movie? What do think? In the meantime, go. Go ahead. Read the book. It’s a great read.