Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Perks of Being a Wallflower Reread

I reread The Perks of Being a Wallflower a few weeks ago, along with watching the film, and the commentary, and the deleted scenes.... You get the picture. Anyway, I love the book and identify with many of the ideas in it so much. I love much of what Chbosky says about how he wrote it and made the movie to make sure people know they're not alone, and to show how much teens and young people are carrying around. I agree with it, and it's pretty much the foundation underneath my love of YA.

 So much of what Charlie goes through and feels are things that everyone goes through and feels. But here's the thing: the big reveal in the book bothers me. To me, it alienates those of us who don't have big baggage that could "explain" what we go through mentally. We just do. Sometimes people get depressed. It doesn't mean they have repressed childhood trauma. It's mean they don't. I'm not arguing that what happened to Charlie doesn't fit into the story--it does. I'm not saying the book or film holds this up is the only reason Charlie feels he does. But it does imply that this is the underlying reason for his problems, and that irritates me.

I do love the line in the book--I think it's in the deleted scenes from the film--where Charlie says I do love the line in the book--I think it's in the deleted scenes from the film--where Charlie says "[my sister was] worried about going to college, and considering what I was going through, she felt really dumb about it. But I don’t know why she would feel dumb. I’d be worried, too. And really, I don’t think I have it any better or worse than she does. I don’t know. It’s just different. Maybe it’s good to put things in perspective, but sometimes, I think that the only perspective is to really be there." I think this quote helps illuminate the fact that pain, worry, fear, and trauma are relative, and I know a story has to have drama to be a story, but there are times when I think novels might be better without the shock factor moment. Perks is generally so quiet and real--not that what happens isn't real--that I think it would stand up without it.

Then again, I am seeing this through the eyes of someone who has never been through anything close to what Charlie goes through, but who has experienced many of his other feelings. It may seem completely different to someone in the opposite position, and maybe that's the point.

In the end, we're all wallflowers.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Of Spying and Samaritans

It's been a while since I had a truly bloggable Chelsey-day. My life has involved a lot of sitting in the couch watching Shameless, and that's not particularly story-worthy. Yesterday, though. Oh, yesterday.

My laptop died last week. Hard drive went pfft, and to get it fixed I have to take in the original hard drive (I replaced it to get more memory in December). That is at home...somewhere. It being the most hectic part of the semester, I made the executive decision to upgrade and sell my old one once it is fixed. So, I drug my butt out into the snow yesterday to go to the Apple Store, where I spent WAY too much money on a laptop and got my cracked iPad replaced. With two hours to spare until class, I then took a cab down to school. While on the way, I stuffed the massive laptop box into my backpack, discovering a new zipper in the process. (The bag has SO MANY POCKETS).

And I left my phone in the cab.

For those keeping score, that's the second time this semester.

Anyway, I stood in the street for a while, hoping the driver would turn around. He didn't. I ran inside and spread out on the library floor. My new iPad wouldn't connect, so I had to take out the computer, go on Find My iPhone, download Skype... With Find My iPhone, I could SEE my phone driving away. This was a good sign compared to last time, though, when whomever found it turned it off making it untraceable. I sent a message to the phone, made it make noise, called the cab company.  They could only message the drivers, and no, it didn't help that I could tell them EXACTLY WHERE HE WAS, AT THAT SECOND.

In the message I sent to my phone, I gave them my mother's number to call. Had I been smart, I would have given them my roommate's instead and kept my mom out of it.... Anyway, she got a call from a man named Joe who had my phone. He'd sat on it, and it kept making noise. (Score one for Find my iPhone.) He left it with the receptionist at his office. I got up this morning, took The Ride down to the South End and had my phone back before breakfast.  It was so lucky, and so great of him. There are good people out there.

On the trip back, my Ride driver commented that if you wanted to spy on someone, you could pretend to leave your phone in their car and track them.

So there's that.

At least I didn't drop it in one of the massive puddles outside the library.