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Tag Archives: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Research: Pride & Prejudice

Sometimes, I check out a CD or a movie because someone suggests it to me. Sometimes I am interested because it is perpetually in pop culture for decades and I cannot avoid it.

In these circumstances, I am probably not eager to try it, and expect to not enjoy it. But I consider it “research”.

I was told years ago by a co-worker to listen to “Nothing’s Shocking” by Jane’s Addiction. He told me if I liked Kid Rock, I should listen to this CD because it is what came before. He was kind of weird and cool, so I got the CD. I would disagree that it really has anything to do with Kid Rock’s sound, but it was an alright CD. I considered it a failed research project though. My life wouldn’t have been missing anything had I never listened to it.

I got the books “Forever” by Judy Blume and “The Perks of Being a “Wallflower” by Stephen Chbosky because everyone always talks about them being great books, especially in the Young Adult genre. I was highly dissatisfied with Perks. I think I would be better off if I had never read it. As for Forever, I think maybe Blume’s books are best enjoyed at the age for which they are written. When I was in 4th grade, Tales of a Forth Grade Nothing” was da bomb. I could never diss Mrs. Blume.

I decided I needed to either read or watch Pride and Prejudice, because everyone talks about it all the time. Actually, the last straw was when I was reading an article called “Sex, Lies, & Fifty Shades” in my Entertainment Weekly magazine. It used Mr. Darcy in Pride & Prejudice as an example of The Prince Paradigm.

Pride and Prejudice meme

Pride and Prejudice meme

Since I generally do better with visual than I do books, especially ones filled with fancy old British talk, I chose to watch the BBC miniseries from 1995 starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle. I was a little concerned about a 6 hour miniseries. But it had a 5 star ranking on Amazon.com.

How many other movies rate that high?

The costumes and all the formality of courting and dancing, etc. back then would have driven me nuts. Once I sort of associated it with when I watch “Anne of Green Gables” (PBS, starring Megan Follows), as being of a time whose customs I know not, it was easier to watch. Just like Anne, Pride featured beautiful shots of the countryside–England, rather than Canada, of course.

The first hour I spent just trying to remember everyone’s name and what they did. But, as I reached the end of episode 5 and found it was now 2:15AM, I realized I had been drawn into the story. I actually cared about Lizzy and Mr. Darcy and if they were ever going to get together.

I actually feel really cheated that I didn’t watch Pride and Prejudice sooner. So many other movies I watch are based off of this story that came first. I recently watched the movie “Austinland” which, while a great movie, no doubt would have made more sense had I watched P & P first. And I have watched “Bridget Jones Diary” in the past. Wait, why does Colin Firth keep playing characters named Mr. Darcy? Is that a really common name in England?

Anyway, Pride and Prejudice was definitely worth my time checking out. I enjoy writing bantering dialogue between my leads and feel like I was “schooled” by the movie. I might benefit from reading the original book. I did find a free eBook version, although I enjoy reading physical books more.

I must admit, I may be a little obsessed now. And that really should have happened years ago. Maybe I wasn’t mature enough yet in 1995 to see past the dresses that look like nightgowns and the lack of kissing.

BTW, I am sooo glad that Lizzie and Mr. Darcy get to kiss at the end.

Next up on my research list? Flowers in the Attic.

My first book, The Wind Could Blow a Bug is NOW AVAILABLE!

PURCHASE as a Paperback or eBook on Amazon.com TODAY.

Book Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

I might as well start by admitting that my literary choices do not always match those of the rest of the world.

I really REALLY loved Twilight. The WHOLE series. I have never read any books as many times as I have read those.

But it is not because they are great works of art. It is because I find them entertaining and enjoyable. I like to read about hot vampires and werewolves. I especially liked how Stephenie Meyer’s writing style reminded me of reading something my best friend would have written.

And I KNOW that you are groaning. But, sorry to say, millions of people around the world agree with me. The money don’t lie.

Everyone always talks about The Perks of Being a Wallflower as if it is some super-great book that I must read. So I did.

PERKS-cover

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

WTF?

I read the last page, closed it, and said, “That book sucked.”

I am sure many will disagree with me. Maybe part of it was that it was from the viewpoint of a teenage boy, rather than a girl. But I had trouble getting past the writing style. It was written as a series of letters to an unknown friend. Sooo many things wrong with this. The letter-writing thing just felt hoaky and unnecessary. I felt as though the author was writing badly on purpose so that I would truly believe that Charlie wrote the letters himself. Except that I just found it distracting. And the so-called friend? It isn’t even anyone that he knows. And, at the end of the book, you STILL do not ever find out who he sends the letters to.

I did like that although it was recently made into a movie (I have not seen it), the book was actually published back in 1999, and actually takes place in 1991-1992 when Charlie was a freshmen in high school. I was a freshmen then, or close to it. That means the author must be my age. But Charlie did not listen to any of the same music or see any of the same movies of that time that would have helped me relate to his character.

I kept wondering if this kid was supposed to be Autistic? Then I wondered if he just was. There was even a bad child molestation and physical abuse subplot. I guess maybe that was supposed to be the plot? Or explain why the kid was weird? If it was supposed to, I missed it.

The best part of the book was when they stood in the back of a pick-up truck while driving through a tunnel. Incidentally, that was the best part of the movie trailer as well.

I never did figure out what the perks of being a wall flower were supposed to be. I could probably be considered “a wallflower”. There are no perks.

I bought this book specifically to study what other YA writers are writing about and how they are doing it. I thought I might be able to use this book to help me think of the heroine in my first book differently. But I just came out of it thinking, “If this book became a hit, maybe mine isn’t as bad as I think it is. Maybe it could be a hit too.”

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