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The Perks of Being a Wallflower
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on September 22, 2012
*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Rating: 1.5 out of 5

'The Perks of Being a Wallflower' is based on Writer/Director Steven Chbosky's 1999 novel of the same name. It actually would be better titled, 'The Perks of being a Victim'. Set in 1991 Pittsburgh, 'Perks' is the coming of age story of 16 year old high school freshman 'Charlie', played by 20 year old actor, Logan Lerman.

Charlie the Wallflower is an introverted kid who feels ostracized on his first day of high school. It doesn't take long for Charlie to find a clique which he can fit into--a group of senior class 'Bohemian' types led by Patrick (Ezra Miller) and step-sister Sam (Emma Watson of Harry Potter fame).

Patrick is gay, carrying on a clandestine affair with one of the stars of the high school football team. When the shop teacher calls Patrick "Patty" and he responds, "You can call me Patrick or nothing," the teacher pours coals on the fire by insulting him further by calling him "nothing"(I had no idea that a school teacher would face no consequences for bullying a pupil in such a way--even in 1991!).

After all the baddies (mainly high school jocks) begin calling Patrick "Nothing", most of the rest of the kids in the school follow suit. 'Wallflower' Charlie, who also feels ostracized, ends up sticking up for perennial victim Patrick. Completely out of character (and with improbable superhuman strength), Charlie ends up knocking out half of the high school football team after they set upon Patrick in the school cafeteria (okay maybe I'm exaggerating--it wasn't half the team but notice that the awkward editing prevents us from actually seeing exactly how Charlie thwarts the entire assault on Patrick).

Chbosky's characters are no different than many other films that feature a coterie of quirky characters which Patrick refers to as the "Island of Toy Misfits". As is usual for these films involving a clique of quirky characters, they're pitted against an unsavory group of reactionaries (in this case, jocks, along with a bunch of young, belligerent allies). Of course you can count on the quirky kids to have some mild flaws, while the group that hates them, are all pretty unsavory and despicable.

What sets Chbosky's quirky misfits apart from other recent quirky characters of this ilk, is that their machinations are firmly ensconced in the era of the early 90s. If there is any charm in this heavy-handed film, it's all in the allusions to the pre-internet era. Do you remember 'Mixtapes'? The kids mix their favorite songs on cassette tapes and pass them around to each other. The quirky kids also have a penchant for the avant-garde--participating in live presentations during weekly screenings of 'The Rocky Horror Picture Show'.

Perhaps the central failing of 'Perks' is Chbosky's paper thin plot. Most of the film focuses on Charlie's puerile infatuation with Sam and all of that silly puppy love he has no desire to suppress. Why should we really care for Charlie's obsession with Sam, especially when her character is so poorly developed? (just about the only thing we learn about her is that she was molested as a child and raped by boys who get her drunk (events confirming her status as perennial victim).

There is also a comic sub-plot (few laughs!) involving Charlie's brief 'romance' with 'Mary Elizabeth', a Buddhist and vegan whose big mistake is to go out with a guy like Charlie, who is clearly obsessed with 'another woman' from the get go. Charlie's obsession is made clear during the 'truth or dare' scene where he kisses Sam on the lips in front of Mary Elizabeth (this elicited a gasp from the mostly teen-aged audience populating the theater I attended).

Obviously Charlie's one-note infatuation and the 'us vs. them' theme was not enough to carry an entire movie, so Chbosky had to throw in some cheap melodrama to tidy things up. I'm referring of course to Charlie's mental problems, stemming from the traumatic death of his aunt when he was a child and the purported sexual abuse he endured at the hands of said aunt before her said demise. After this 'setback' (where he joins hands as a full-fledged victim with his fellow sufferer, Patrick), he can now work his way 'back' to sanity and eventually pretentiously declare along with his fellow quirky misfits (with a straight face), "we are infinite" (as he stares up at the sky through the roof of Patrick and Sam's pickup, hurtling through a tunnel).

It's no accident that 'Perks' was produced by the very same people who gave us 'Juno', that revolting anti-abortion tearjerker. Nonetheless, 'Perks' is not a complete lost cause. Despite being acted by actors chronologically older than the high school students they portray, they uniformly do a pretty good job. Ezra Miller steals the show as the flamboyant Patrick and Paul Rudd is memorable as the sagacious and helpful English teacher.

I guarantee that all those who loved 'Perks' also loved 'Little Miss Sunshine'. Both promote the unhealthy idea of a coterie of quirky misfits who are superior to a group of stick-figure reactionaries pitted against them. By promoting this illusory dichotomy, Mr. Chbosky has done a disservice to true Bohemians everywhere--certainly such true libertarians do not perceive themselves as victims and would not like other misguided souls such as Mr. Chbosky, to impugn them with such a label.
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on August 20, 2009
The biggest problem I had with this book, and shockingly the most lauded aspect, was Charlie. He was the most unrealistic protagonist I have ever seen. Fifteen year olds who aren't evangelical christians know what masturbation is. They don't use the word genitals in casual writing. They say "really" not "very" or "especially". They use contractions, not the precious and oh-so-earnest alternative. They'd never call it "marijuana" if they were also smoking it. And they never, ever, use the term "grown-ups" with a straight face. Or, here, let me clarify:

Fifteen year olds who take drugs, like the Smiths, know the meaning of the word "infinite," drink in excess, have seen a rape, have had a friend commit suicide, and who have witnessed a whole number of other after school special scenarios, do not write this way. Autistic savants write this way, third graders write this way, and 25 year olds who want their characters to do their heartstring-tugging work for them, they too write this way.

When I was fifteen (only three years ago, by the way,) I will admit, I was like Charlie in a few ways. Socially awkward, smart, the prototypical "weird gifted and talented kid". I wanted so badly for him to be exactly like me, acerbic (or trying to be,) self-conscious to an absurd degree, wanting to be impressive, and eagerly clamoring for the "Prodigy" title. But somehow, Charlie manages to be brilliant (in fact, the most brilliant person one teacher has ever met! how sweet!) while being utterly clueless and guileless. His writing is mediocre, his intellectual grasp of the books he reads (and apparently writes stellar analyses of) is childlike, yet somehow he manages to spew out his profound observations on human nature in between descriptions of what Secret Santa is (embedded in quotes, as if he's talking to a foreign exchange student.) We are meant to believe that he is at once gimlet- and doe-eyed.

To be clear: Charlie is not a wallflower at all. When I think "wallflower," I think socially anxious, awkward, paralyzed by nerves. Charlie is antisocial, in the clinical sense of the word. It's not that he is scared of social interaction, it's that he doesn't have the faintest idea how it works.

But the implausibility doesn't stop there: somehow, this socially-retarded young Plato manages to befriend and enchant a group of worldly-ultra cool seniors who, in their pretentious (but retrospectively lame) 90's rituals (Eating at Big Boy, drinking brandy and reading dark poetry together, publishing-I'm serious- ZINES,) represent all the real-life Charlies, the ones who are suburbanite-edgy and troubled and wise and, most realistically, desperately want you to think that they are. Unlike Charlie, they listen to the Smiths not so much because they feel "infinite" when they hear Morrissey's whiny ballads, but because they so badly want you to know how much they love cool music, cool movies, and cool people. In their spine-crushing attempts to be spine-crushingly cool, they are more accurate depictions of real teenagers than Charlie. This is not to say that they are realistic either, as their relatively unpretentious speech and open-arms acceptance of Charlie is difficult to swallow, but they are certainly more real than our hero Mary Sue Caulfield. My, how convenient for Chbosky that Charlie can be called upon to be edgy, volatile, brilliant, simple, clueless, and even a weeping head case who goes suddenly catatonic. It all depends on what works best with Chbosky's newest ready-for-my-MTV-closeup scene. Some might say that this rollercoaster of emotions adds to the realism, is a normal part of teenage life, but these people don't remember the shocking banality of teenhood.

Let's not forget the after school special feel of it all, something that, unlike my observations on Charlie's unrealistic preciousness, has been noted by many other reviewers. I will only echo what they say: Very few teenagers go from complete naivete to drugs, sex, and rock 'n roll so quickly and so smoothly. I was reminded of horrible tripe like Go Ask Alice and Catherine Hardwicke's movie Thirteen, in which innocence is so quickly shattered and the lives of supposedly smart and responsible kids so easily and seamlessly muddied that we are left to wonder if the perpetrators of these fantastical coming-of-age lies have ever even been teenagers. But I digress...

And for the record, I am not averse to cute coming-of-age stories with a precious little smarty pants at their center. I loved Jonathan Safran Foer's Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, and thought Oskar Schell was, if a bit unrealistic, at least charmingly so. I thought A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius was quite good, mostly because it was so honest with itself, and I loved Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog In the Nighttime. I might add that his protagonist actually WAS autistic, but somehow quite similar to Charlie in his bursts of uncharacteristic violence, simple speech, and utter lack of people skills. If you're looking for a better read than this one, I would suggest picking up one of those titles.

To be fair, there were some passages I liked. Occasionally I stopped my seething and identified with Charlie's passivity and mistaken idea that helping other lives along and watching still counts as living. And I did enjoy Sam's speech to him at the end about love and needing him to be there. But Charlie himself was too much, and his voice cast a heartbreakingly innocent, daisy-chained, Tiny Tim shadow over anything that could qualify as profound.

I think it's time to wrap up this little hatefest, so I'll end with some advice regarding who this book IS for, since it is certainly not for me.

If you loved Juno, if you enjoy twee pop, if you absolutely looooove mixtapes but weren't alive when people actually made them for each other, if you have Anne Geddes photographs in your home, if you're one of those people who constantly rambles on about how a song, or book, or movie "changed your life," then this book, this saccharine sweet little cupcake of a book, is singularly, and unfortunately, made for you.
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on March 2, 2013
I am 74 years old. The world is different now; there are more risks and more choices than when I was 15, but this movie reminded me of what it felt like to be 15 and 16 in 1954 and 1955. In those days homework was accompanied by radio with Rock and Roll music thanks to Alan Fried, Ranger hockey against Maurice Richard, and Gene Shepard,the best story teller of all time. Most of us had after school jobs which gave us enough spending money to begin making choices independent of our parents, and every day we left home and entered the world alone, with very little confidence but with the hope that everything was going to work out. Watching Charlie going through his day, observing the antics of his friends and trying to make sense of it all, brought tears to my eyes. The beauty of the movie is that it captures the universal experience of adolescence, and fortunately, as difficult as the experience may be, just like Charlie, most of us make it through.
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on January 28, 2013
Well,i read the book and then saw this movie and obviously i know you cannot cram 224 pages in an hour and a half but a John Hughes film comparison???? This is not even close,I felt a disconnect with the characters in the movie that almost bordered on boring,nothing genuine about it,candice is supposed hate charlie,what about candice's abortion??? A 1 minute reference to his penn state brother and everything else just didnt't gel with me,the bill/charlie relationship just looked very forced at best.What about the emotional "i cry all the time" charlie in the book? This is the lamest book to screen rendition yet,but there will be people saying it's a great coming of age movie,you can say all you want,this is a forgettable movie and to mention this movie in the same sentence as any of John Hughes classic movies is straight on suicidal.
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on February 6, 2013
I have not read "The Perks of Being a Wallflower," so I have no basis as to how the book compares to the movie. That said, I feel that this film suffers the same symptoms as many a book adaptation: far too many elements stuffed in to be dealt with adequately in the space of a film. Many people on here have already mentioned a lot of the good points, so I would just like to point out some of the things that didn't sit well with me.

First off, I would like to say that I really did enjoy the first half of this film and I was drawn in by the characters far more than I expected to be. To be honest, I tend to avoid films about adolescence because I often feel isolated by them. So many high school dramas involve hard bodies in the their early or mid or late twenties and are all about their wild sexual endeavors, making high school seem more like some supermodel Beverly Hills coke party. Unfortunately, my high school experience was not like that at all: riddled with anxiety, insecurity, disappointment (and not much of anything sexy). So this film opened as a very pleasant surprise, showing very realistic characters with legitimate angst and problems that I and probably many others could relate to. The teens of the film, particularly the leads, are embodied through great performances by very gifted young actors. I found myself smiling often, feeling their pain and enjoying their triumphs.

In the second half, however, I felt that the film almost completely lost its trajectory: certain issues got dragged out far too long, there were scenes that went nowhere, and story elements completely abandoned. There were even times when the film completely lost its realism and delved into pure fantasy. (Warning: spoilers)

Here is an example: at the beginning of the film, Charlie mentions to Sam that his former best friend committed suicide. This of course causes Sam concern and she and Patrick officially welcome him into their group. After that scene, the suicidal friend is never, ever mentioned again. I would think that of all the things that trouble Charlie's mind throughout the film, this friend would surely be one of them. Does Charlie ever wonder what his old friend would think of his new friends, what he would have been like in high school, what he would say about this or that? Does Charlie feel that he might possibly have prevented his friend's suicide and how he might have done it? If these things are on Charlie's mind, the movie never says. He does, however, think often on his deceased aunt and the possibility that her death might be his fault. I really feel that the movie should merely have focused on one of these defunct characters and left the other out. Couldn't he just have easily have told Sam that his aunt had died recently? I think that would have been much more consistent.

The second half of the film is primarily focused on Charlie's attraction to Sam. He likes her, maybe she likes him, but she has a boyfriend. He likes her but later he has a girlfriend, which complicates things further. They share many special quiet moments together and even kiss once. Will they end up together, will they not end up together? Does she like him, does she not like him? This is so drawn out over so many similar scenes even though the conflict itself is pretty thin and it is perfectly obvious what the end result is going to be. Even with its focus on the alternative lifestyle of misfit adolescents, this film chooses as its main conflict a typical Jane Austen love game of "will they end up together or not," hence qualifying it as a mainstream Hollywood film like the billion and a half others I have seen. Focusing on this issue again and again does not develop the characters any further, it is just teasing an attraction that everyone can see is there and is obviously going to be fulfilled in the end. I feel that there were far more interesting turns the movie could have taken and far more interesting issues it could have explored. For instance, the character of Patrick. Here is a gay teen who has to deal with the difficulty of finding love in a homophobic environment, something many a gay teen could no doubt relate to. After a very ugly breakup with his closeted boyfriend, Charlie tries to console Patrick. Patrick, in his grief, suddenly kisses Charlie full on the mouth. Charlie then mentions that he hangs out with Patrick quite a bit more after that in the following days. But wait a minute! Wouldn't your gay friend kissing you full on the mouth have some kind of impact on your relationship? Would it make your relationship stronger, would you understand each other better, would it make things more awkward and uncomfortable? The movie does absolutely nothing with this. Relationships between gay friends and straight friends (at least of the same gender) has very seldom been explored in movies, and I personally would have found that far more interesting then the typical Hollywood footsie between Charlie and Sam.

Speaking of Patrick's closeted boyfriend, this is where I felt the movie really abandoned reality and went into fantasy. Patrick gets into an all out fight with his boyfriend in the middle of the school cafeteria. Two of the boyfriend's big jock buddies hold Patrick's arms while a third delivers merciless gut punches. Sam tries to run to his aid but is held back, so Charlie...Charlie apparently blacks out and when he comes to, he finds that he has knocked two jocks twice his size out cold. Are you kidding me??? I assume that the blackout must have been where he momentarily turned into the Incredible Hulk. This, for me, was just fully unrealistic. Bullying is a difficult fact of life that many an outsider has to put up with, and I have no doubt that millions of victims have had many a fantasy about laying out their stronger, dumber tormentors. But how many have ever actually done it? How many people can honestly say that they knocked not one, but two of these brutes unconscious? While it likely has happened before, I would say that very few of us would truthfully be able to relate to that experience. Charlie could certainly have tried to stop them, maybe even have succeeded in stopping them, I just wish it would have been done more realistically without the burst of super strength. And after such an amazing feat, wouldn't he be a school hero, a school legend? Well, it is enough for him to get his friends back, but otherwise everyone just seems to kind of forget about it...

As the film unfolds, we see Charlie progressing more and more, becoming less of a wallflower, growing as a person, as a writer, confessing his love and apparently finally ending up with Sam and just as the movie seems that it is about to wrap itself up...a full relapse into depression and suicidal tendencies. This sudden change comes almost at the end of the film and to me it fit in very awkwardly. I thought if he was going to rebound into his depression it should have happened much earlier in the film and been a bigger part of his character. Why, after all the progress he made, does this suddenly happen? As he gets therapy, we learn that his relationship with his deceased aunt may not have been fully appropriate, kind of like Sam's prepubescent trauma with her dad's boss. Though the story seems to sympathize with these characters and their struggles, it tries to shove in this sort of uncouth, 1950's psychoanalytical explanation of why they are such "misfits." What makes someone an outsider? Being intelligent, being artistic or creative. NO, they were molested as children, of course! That just really seems like a cop out to me; an overly simplistic answer to very complicated issues. When you do not fit in it would almost be nice to have something like that to pin it on, kind of a free pass, but for many the answer is not so easy.

To sum up, I really do understand why people like this movie and I do have to praise them for appealing to the kids for whom high school is not so fantastic. As I said, the actors gave it there all, they developed things well in the first half, but to me there were a lot of problems and let downs in the second half.
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on December 18, 2012
I pretty much know before even writing this review, that it will likely have a critical reception. But that's okay, everyone is different. Personally, however, I wonder whether the movie may have ruined the beautiful scenery this book had planted in my mind. I am really hoping not. Furthermore, I really doubt I am the only one who feels this way. I haven't read the book again since watching (a little over half of) the movie. I don't mean to seem like a prude, but I could not finish it. I know it's the affect of "Hollywood ruining books and stories," so to speak. There seemed to be many additional details and subtle inaccuracies in many of the scenes. It was very apparent, in my opinion, that this book is either not meant to be a movie, Chbosky just didn't quite pull it off with the producers/his directing, or maybe his vision or intent being depicted didn't match up with my interpretation of how the imagery was described in the book. The actor playing Patrick wasn't anything like I had imagined the character in the book (Many scenes involving him were kind of uncomfortable, kind of like "Nooo, Patrick isn't like that!") Emma Watson is gorgeous and I do love her, but she is no Sam. Although I do enjoy seeing her face and talented acting, regardless. Dylan McDermott as Charlie's dad? No...just, no. Paul Rudd as Bill? I couldn't take him from "Role Models" and "Our Idiot Brother" to an intellectual character in one of my most favorite childhood books, if not favorite books of all time. I have to say, though, that in my eyes the most inaccurate character of all may have been Charlie. A 20 year old Logan Lerman playing 15 year old Charlie can hardly pull it off. I can say that his shyness was on point, at times. But over all, a grown man playing a teenager just wasn't working.

With all this said, I completely understand that the author cannot read my mind with regard to how the characters look or act, and neither can I read his. I can only read his work and interpret it as my imagination allows. And in all honesty, had I not ever read the book, or had I even watched the movie first and read the book later, I still would have likely loved them both. I suppose you could say I'm a bit hardheaded or overprotective over the experience I had gotten from the story thus far. In general, it seems to be the type of movie I would love, with including the actors I enjoy watching.

In conclusion, if you have not read the book The Perks of Being a Wallflower then I can say you would likely enjoy this film very much, assuming it's of interest to your age bracket or preferred genre of stories. It really is a captivating, emotional story like no other. In fact, I waited for roughly a year and a half in anticipation ever since it was announced (especially excited considering the author was directing the film, himself!) If, however, you have read and cherished this book as many people have then I would say to watch it with a grain of salt and an open mind. Be thoughtful of the reality that you may never read the book the same again. Or if, as in my case, you are not able to do so then consider skipping watching it altogether.
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on April 7, 2013
We turned it off after seeing a scene with two guys making out... if that is not your thing, you probably don't want to watch this movie. Wish there had been a warning about that somewhere before we paid $4 to rent it. O'well. Probably should have known better and done better research.
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on June 8, 2012
Of course I loved the book. It's so much more than "young-adult combing-of-age". For me, it was deeply moving, an often gripping story, particularly at the end, and it opened a window not just into teenagers, but into life at all stages -- this while being extremely well-written and without calling attention to its well-written-ness. What I found most striking, was showing life through a different kind of mind, what's sometimes called Asperger's Syndrome or High-Functioning Autism. AS/HFA isn't a disease, but an important difference, important to us all. What makes AS/HFA an important difference is its talents, particularly its special "perceptiveness", though not "perceptiveness" in the usual sense. More as a deep meaning to what Robert Burns wrote, "And would some power, the Gods give us, To see ourselves as others see us!"

(Know this book deals directly with many painful topics including abuse, suicide and violent bullying. It's not for "more sensitive" readers.)

Reading several reviews, I'm not surprised that some reviewers found the lead character, Charlie, "too sweet" and "improbable". In this, understandably, they miss Charlie's "diffferent" mind and more, his "different" way of being. I'm a psychotherapist, specializing for several decades in people for whom therapy has failed, often people, like Charlie, who've been hospitalized. And a dozen years ago, I discovered that maybe a quarter of my clients were in the autism spectrum, almost always AS/HFA -- often highly intelligent and able to relate to the neurotypically-structured social world, though relating "differently" and needing much more conscious struggling with the basics. After working several years with AS/HFA, I found these people had remarkable powers, and the usual "unable to relate or care" descritpion of autism just wasn't true in the ordinary sense. Most were neither uninterested nor uncaring -- in fact, quite the opposite. They desperately wanted to relate and, in some ways, they were over-caring, extremely sensitive to others. They related differently, not only to others, but to themselves and their world and, in particular, to language. Often not badly, but just very differently.

Writing in first person gives the author no place to hide. You MUST have an extremely interesting character, and you MUST know that character with ruthless clarity. Chbosky does, and he does so well that I suspect he may have a touch of autism himself. Or at least it runs in his family. Disclosure: after several years working with AS/HFA children, teens and adults, I noticed that I was unusually drawn to them; I could almost use that diagnostically. With that awareness, I figured out that autism runs in my family. And with that, the disease faded away and the differences began to shine through. Let me note a few points from "The Perks" to illustrate. Charlie's speech, thinking and relating, at first blush, seems to be almost child-like, more charcteristic of six years old than sixteen. He has an astonishing honesty, a naive not-understanding, and his use of words frequently has that unintended poetic feel of children. But look more carefully: Yes, there are situations he doesn't get in ways shocking for a middle-teen. But as he thinks about them and questions them, he often goes right to the heart-of-the-matter, and a heart-of-the-matter that's usually missed or forgotten by those of us, especially adults, who "just get it" and go on. Let me give an extended quote from the book's end:

"Later, [my friends, Sam and Patrick,] came by in Sam's pickup truck. And we went to the Big Boy just like we always did. Sam told us about her life at school, which sounded very exciting. And I told her about my life in the hospital, which didn't. And Patrick made jokes to keep everyone honest. After we left, we got in Sam's pickup truck, and just like Sam promised, we drove to the tunnel. About half a mile from the tunnel, Sam stopped the car, and I climbed in back. Patrick played the radio really loud so I could hear it, and as we were approaching the tunnel, I listened to the music and thought about all the things that people have said to me over the past year. I thought about Bill telling me I was special. And my sister saying she loved me. And my mom, too. And even my dad and brother when I was in the hospital. I thought about Patrick calling me his friend. And I thought about Sam telling me to do things. To really be there. And I just thought how great it was to have friends and a family...."

"But mostly, I was crying because I was suddenly very aware of the fact that it was me standing up in that tunnel with the wind over my face. Not caring if I saw downtown. Not even thinking about it. Because I was standing in the tunnel. And I was really there. And that was enough to make me feel infinite."

Starting out, it seems almost primitively black-&-white, until "And Patrick made jokes to keep everyone honest." In the context of all that literal-ness, it's startling. Charlie doesn't just note that "Patrick is telling jokes". Humor is often a struggle for AS/HFA, and so they need to work at understanding it. Through his work, Charlie is seeing not only Patrick's style of humor, but its function. Since AS/HFA often doesn't instinctively grasp "what" to do, they approach others and their world more basically through "why it's done" and "what it means". Because Charlie struggles to see the function of so much, he remains very much in touch with a stripped-down sense of that function's truth. Again, "And Patrick made jokes to keep everyone honest."

Then Charlie's "telling" returns to seemingly smple description. But read again: the description is less "simple" than "primary". And in many ways, this is the importance for us in AS/HFA relating. Attention to detail, of what simply "is", is consciously, clearly combined with an almost-primary way of relating to themselves, to others, to their world, as well as a primary relating to language. And when we see ourselves, our world, our lives through Charlie's AS/HFA "primary" lens, we not only see afresh. We see what is "primary", what goes to the heart-of-the-matter, what is the stripped down function, and so what is truly important. Not preachy, but very experiential -- "truly important" very much as-lived.

And Charlie winds up poetically pointing to primary experiences, connections and always-available potentials within and around us all: "And that was enough to make me feel infinite". And he got there through self and love and family and friends. Frankly, as a therapist who works most-of-all with severe trauma -- war PTSD, attachment disorders, sexual abuse, and deep grievings -- that's a short list, in those two paragraphs, of what gets lost in trauma and of what it takes to heal.

OK, I'm probably probing more than interests most potential readers. As you can see in other reviews, there are many levels to enjoy in this book. If you like, though, let yourself be touched by Charlie's "primary" description-plus-function. You may find it not only intriguging and moving, but healing. And who of us can't use a touch of healing now-and-then?

P.S. I read this on Kindle and, even on my laptop, I found it an easy read. It was particularly helpful because, now over 60 years old, I can boost up the print size, making reading more relaxing.
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on February 20, 2013
Completely unbelievable. A 13 year old kid saddled with emotional baggage that very few people have to handle, in fact, can handle. First is given a mickey of pot by way of brownies, (a felony) then later on is given LSD and just blows it off as if he would be lucid after such a encounter. The message of the movie is that drugs are harmless.

I don't really care who smokes pot but do it after high school. My experience is that any kid that starts smoking pot in high school will never make the honor roll, probably won't graduate and in the end will not remember anything that he might have absorbed as knowledge.
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on March 2, 2013
This movie was outrageously predictable, with the same terrible plot of awkward boy finds outcast group finds love finds popularity. Had to turn it off out of boredom.
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