The Perks of Being a Wallflower


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I was really looking forward to watching The Perks of Being a Wallflower. What introvert wouldn’t be keen to see a movie that celebrates introversion?

My husband even said, “I didn’t think there were any perks to  being a wallflower,” to which I replied, “You need to read The Introvert Advantage!”

Well anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. The characters and the story were interesting, the acting was good, and it was especially fun to see Emma Watson in a role so totally different from Hermione Grainger. But in terms of fulfilling what the title (and the description on IMDb) promised, I was frankly a little disappointed.

To me, Charlie (the main character) wasn’t an introvert – he was a young man with a mental illness – and that’s a stereotype we’re trying very hard to dispel, that introversion and mental illness are somehow interconnected.

Charlie’s self-esteem and mental well-being hinged very much on his interaction with other people. He needed and wanted to be popular. He didn’t crave alone time, or even seem to value it very much. Yes, he was quiet, but that in itself doesn’t define him as an introvert.

Yet, I suspect that many of us can relate to this line:

I know who you are, Sam. I know I’m quiet… and, and I should speak more. But if you knew the things that were in my head most of the time, you’d know what I really meant. How, how much we’re alike and, and how we’ve been through things…

Overall though, the movie was great, and it’s easy to see why it has won nine awards and been nominated for 22 others.

Have you seen or read The Perks of Being a Wallflower? I’d love to know what you thought of it.

The Introvert Retreat blog where this was originally published is no longer online, but if you’d like to network with other introverts, join us in The Original Introvert Retreat Group!

Casual Photo of Janet Barclay

Janet Barclay

I eliminate stress for my clients by hosting, monitoring, and maintaining their WordPress sites so they don’t have to worry about security, downtime or performance issues. When I’m away from my desk, I enjoy reading, photography, cooking, watching movies, drinking tea, and spending time with my family.

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  1. Justina on April 27, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    I thought this movie displayed introversion very effectively. Patrick and Sam helped Charlie fight the demons of his introversion. Sometimes quiet people can be more susceptible to mental hardships because they are quiet and may feel intimidated by what they need to explain or don’t know how to express their feelings the way they want to. That doesn’t mean being quiet is bad, it means Charlie had what every introvert wants: good friends to help him. This was a beautiful movie with something for all introverts that they can all relate too, including me.

    • Janet Barclay on April 28, 2013 at 11:42 am

      Thanks for your comment, Justina. That makes a lot of sense!

  2. Rah on April 19, 2014 at 4:31 pm

    I really identify with Charlie. Im gifted, an empath, and infj. Because of my extroverted feeling, people are often surprised to learn I’m NOT an extrovert! The truth is that solace is my oasis in which I recharge to not burn-out. His childhood trauma and PTSD has no cause-effect with him being either introverted or extroverted. This passage, for example, is very much me.

    I walk around the school hallways and look at the people. I look at the teachers and wonder why they’re here. If they like their jobs. Or us. And I wonder how smart they were when they were fifteen. Not in a mean way. In a curious way. It’s like looking at all the students and wondering who’s had their heart broken that day, and how they are able to cope with having three quizzes and a book report due on top of that. Or wondering who did the heart breaking. And wondering why.

    • Janet Barclay on April 21, 2014 at 6:19 am

      I really like that passage too. I haven’t read the book, but now I think I should.

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