dear friend

Last Friday, I went out to buy new running shoes. The reason I needed new running shoes warrants a post of its own, so I’ll leave that for another time. Anyway, as I was already out, I figured I’d stop by at the Lifeline Bookfest. I’d gone the week-end before with a friend, but hadn’t found anything I wanted, so I left empty-handed. This was kind of to make up for that, and I was sure I’d find something.

After much wandering, I found a Russian for Dummies book, which will hopefully be a good introduction to Russian whenever I decide I’m finished with learning Persian and want to move on to Russian; and I also found a decent copy of The Hobbit, which I bought because I’ve been wanting to re-read the Lord of the Rings trilogy for ages, and had started Fellowship of the Ring earlier this year, but stopped after a few pages because I thought I really should re-read The Hobbit first.

(When I bought the LOTR trilogy at a previous Bookfest, I hadn’t bought The Hobbit too. Why exactly I hadn’t bought it back then is quite beyond me. It’s also quite beside the point here, so I won’t go into it.)

After a while, the friend who had spontaneously joined me at Bookfest that night had picked up a pretty good armful of books. I, however, was at the point of giving up, not finding anything that really excited me other than Russian and The Hobbit.

But… before we left to get ramen, I decided to have a look at one more row of tables. As luck would have it, there was a near-new copy of The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. I’ve quite possibly seen this book at previous Bookfests, and decided not to buy it for a number of my usual reasons (it’s a fairly short book, I could just get it from the library, I probably won’t re-read it, I already have too many books, etc, etc).

But this time was different! This time there couldn’t have been a more perfect book for me to pick up! And it was even better because it wasn’t the film cover (this kind of thing is important to book nerds like me).

The reason finding this book seemed so important at that time, as I explained to my friend, was that when I went to visit my friend in Canberra about a month ago, there was one night when we came back to her house after having dinner out, and she decided to put on a movie to watch. After some browsing through Netflix, she chose The Perks of Being a Wallflower because it’s supposed to be one of those movies that make you feel like things are going to be ok.

I remember seeing the movie when it was released in cinemas, and I remember liking the movie, but I didn’t remember much else about it. I was glad to be able to watch it again …except that we didn’t.

We ended up talking through most of the movie, and not really paying any attention to it. It was a very deep and meaningful conversation, which I suppose suited the deep and meaningful nature of the movie (even if we weren’t really watching it).

So basically I thought if I couldn’t re-watch Wallflower (I don’t have Netflix at my own home because I don’t have a TV or wifi), I’ll just read the book. Perfect!

I had a list of chores to do over the week-end, and I’m pleased to say I got most of them done, despite the fact that I kept thinking of more things to add to the list. And somehow I found time to finish reading Wallflower as well. Yep, in two days. I probably could have finished it in one, but I was busy, and I don’t read very fast (yeah, I gave up on trying to speed-read everything).

As you can probably guess, I really liked the book (to put it simply). I found it to be very thought-provoking in that analytical/reflective way, and it was quite comforting as well, in the way my friend said the movie was supposed to be.

I don’t know whether to be concerned or not that I can relate to how Charlie (the protagonist) thinks about certain things. We also sign off letters in the same way – with “Love always” – but I only use that for people I really care about, and as long as it doesn’t sound weird in context of the rest of the letter/card.

The whole book is actually written as a series of letters, so now I really want to write letters. I’ll probably write a letter to my friend in Canberra.

There are also a lot of other books/novels mentioned throughout the story (Charlie’s English teacher keeps giving him extra books to read because he’s really good at English) and now I want to read all of these too. But first, I think I’ll re-read Wallflower. That’s what Charlie would have done.

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