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Review of The Perks of Being a Wallflower By: Ashley Hinson

Overview

Teenager Charlie is starting his first year of high school and battling the recent suicide of his best friend Michael and still dealing with the death of his Aunt when he was a child, he writes letters to an anonymous stranger. Battling social anxiety and perhaps even depression and/or PTSD, he makes friends with a group of seniors at his school who show him the ropes of high school and new experiences in life.

Social Anxiety

The main character, Charlie, experiences social anxiety during his first year of high school and it started the summer after his friend, Michael, committed suicide. Charlie spent the entire summer in a Psychiatric ward and was basically isolated from normal people. When he started his first day of high school, he didn't talk to anyone during class, didn't bother to participate in class discussions in fear of being called names or not fitting in, he sat by himself during lunch and at home, he didn't really talk to his family; he spent his time in his room reading or listening to music. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, some symptoms of Social Anxiety are being very anxious when around other people and having a hard time talking to them, being very self-conscious and embarrassed in front of other people, binge afraid that other people will judge them, and having a hard time making friends and keeping friends. Researchers have also found that there are several regions of the brain that are involved in fear and anxiety.


The movie, as well as the book, depicts these symptoms within Charlie very accurately because in the book, as well as the movie, he writes letter to an anonymous person instead of talking to other about his problems because he doesn't want them to judge him. In the book/movie he says, "I just need to know that people like you exist. Like if you met me you wouldn't think I was the weird kid who spent time in the hospital. And I wouldn't make you nervous."

Depression/PTSD

Charlie experiences depression and PTSD when it comes to the death of his Aunt because when he was a child, his Aunt was living with them and she went out one night to go buy Charlie his birthday present and Charlie is the one who gave her the car keys. It was snowing really bad that night and the next thing he knew, cops were showing up at the door telling his family that his Aunt was in a car accident and was dead. He blamed himself for her death because he was the one who gave her the keys and she was going out to get his birthday present. He develops PTSD as a result of this, experiencing vivid images of the event several times throughout the movie and book, both as well as blacking out at times which are symptoms of PTSD. An example of the this blame is in a conversation between Charlie and his sister Candice, "Candice, I killed Aunt Helen, didn't I? She died getting my birthday present, so I guess I killed her, right? I tried to stop thinking that, but I can't. She keeps driving away and dying and I can't stop her. Am I crazy Candice?" says Charlie.

Rating

While this movie was mainly a drama, the directors/producers stayed true to the real symptoms of PTSD, depression and social anxiety; not making the character overdramatic about things or showing an over production of feelings/emotions. I personally loved the movie and all in all, I rate it a 5/5 because it depicts real events that teenagers are actually going through as well as how you start to find your way in the world.

Bibliography

Dryden-Edwards, R. (2014, April 16). Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Symptoms, Causes, Treatment - What are PTSD symptoms and signs? - MedicineNet (M. Stöppler, Ed.). Retrieved October 15, 2015, from http://www.medicinenet.com/posttraumatic_stress_disorder/page4.htm


Social Phobia (Social Anxiety Disorder). (n.d.). Retrieved October 15, 2015, from http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/social-phobia-social-anxiety-disorder/index.shtml