So a bit of a different post from me today. I've decided to start doing posts every now and again on what I've been reading, as I do really enjoy sitting down and reading a book and getting lost in my own world. It's such a great form of escapism, I think.
Now I finished this book a couple of months ago, but I wanted to write about it on the blog and have just got round to doing it. A few months back I didn't even know what a wallflower was. I'd never heard of it until I'd seen the movie advertised on a poster at my local cinema. "That looks good" I said to my then boyfriend. "Do you know what a wallflower is?" he said. "No, is it an actual world? I thought it's just something the movie had made up." "No, it's someone who doesn't really dance at a party and just stands at the side." "I am a wallflower!" I immediately replied (this is amazing, they have a WORD for these type of people? And it's such a pretty word!). "Yeah" he said "you are."
I knew then and there that I had to watch this film. I very rarely go out/to parties/clubbing etc etc, and when I do I don't drink. Or dance. People will try and try and try to get me up and dancing, but it never happens. I like to watch people. Not just at parties, but everyday. On the bus, in town... Anywhere. I am an avid people-watcher (in a completely un-freaky way, you understand).
I haven't yet watched the film, despite hearing nothing but good reviews, but when I found out there was a book I wanted to read that first, anyway. I just wanted to associate with someone, I wanted to read the book and be like 'Yeah, that's what I do!" which to be fair I was at a few parts.
It's written from the point of view of Charlie in letter form. He is the wallflower, so he stands back and watches other people live their lives and grow up, whereas he is afraid to. He doesn't realise that he does this, but throughout the course of the book he gradually comes out of his shell after meeting two friends, one of whom he actually ends up falling in love with.
For me this book speaks to the sense of alienation that I still experience to this day. I don't necessarily relate to Charlie as his reason for being the way that he is is explained at the end of the novel, and I can't say I have a reason, and we do discover that he is actually depressed, which I am not. So although I thought this was a touching and moving story, I didn't get from it the level of satisfaction which I was hoping it would give me.
I get told quite regularly that I am beyond my years, and I'm pretty sure that my mum is convinced that I've 'been here before', as in, in another life. I've always been quite 'different'. I don't have any friends. My mum is my best friend (love you mum!) and her, my dad and my brother are pretty much the only people in my life. I thought that would change once I came to university, you know, since it's meant to be the greatest experience of your life, and time to meet friends who you'll end up knowing forever? Well, I'm sure it is this for 99% of the girls on my course, but not for me. I started off well, talking to different people in the induction week, but once it properly started the week after girls had already formed different groups and, surprise surprise, I wasn't in one. I knew then that that would be it. That first week was vital, the time to meet your group of friends which you're going to be with for the next four years, thus it was too late for me. Meaning I still sit in a class today, of about fifty people at least, and end up sitting on my own when it's time for group tasks (a time I'm now starting to hate). Do people invite me to join their group, even for a couple of minutes to do some work? Nope, not one.
I'm not like this because I have serious issues, like Charlie has, or because I'm too scared to live my own life. I'm not even shy, really. There's just something about me which prevents me from connecting with people, and I can't even put my finger on what it is myself.
People tend to use the word 'wallflower' negatively, I recently heard an actress in an interview say "I love being a bad guy, no one wants to play a wallflower, do they?", "No definitely not" was the response. But you know what? I know that it's actually everyone else's loss, because wallflowers are usually some of the most wonderfully interesting people if one would actually try to talk to them. We see a lot of things and we know a lot about a person without actually knowing them. Many a time have I watched someone's expression or actions, what they do when they think no one's paying attention. I don't just look at things. I see things. I ask 'why?'. As the saying goes: "The quietest people have the loudest minds."
Maybe I didn't get exactly what I wanted from this book (it's still a really lovely story), but it has taught me that there's other people out there, other introverts, we have a title, and for now, that's enough.