The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a semi-autobiographical novel written by Stephen Chbosky and published in 1999. It is Chbosky's most famous work, and it has been translated into 31 languages and has remained on the New York Times Bestseller...
Stephen Chbosky is a novelist, screenwriter, and director who was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on January 25, 1970. He grew up in a Catholic family made up of his mother, father, and younger sister. As a teenager, Chbosky was moved by J.D. Salinger's novel, The Catcher in the Rye. Upon graduation from Upper St. Clair High School he met Stewart Stern, the screenwriter of Rebel Without a Cause, and the two became close friends. After writing The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Chbosky revealed that the character Bill, a literature teacher, was based on Stern and reflected the positive influence of Stern on his own development.
Chbosky left Pittsburgh to attend the University of Southern California's Film Writing Program, where he began work on his first film, The Four Corners of Nowhere, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Following this initial success, Chbosky spent the 1990s writing screenplays that went unpublished, but in 1994 he began work on the novel he is now most famous for - The Perks of Being a Wallflower. In a 2001 interview with Ann Beisch of LA Youth, Chbosky described the initial stages of the project: "I was writing a very different type of book than Perks, but then I wrote the line, 'I guess that's just one of the perks of being a wallflower.' And I stopped. I realized that somewhere in that sentence was the boy I was really trying to find." After five years of research and composition, Chbosky published the novel in 1999; the book became a bestseller. Chbosky went on to tell Beisch that he wrote the book "for very personal reasons," and was happy that people had been able to relate to it in such a positive way.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower was Chbosky's first novel, as well as his most successful, but Chbosky's talents extend beyond his role as a novelist. In 2005, Chbosky wrote the screenplay for the film version of the Broadway hit Rent, though this adaptation was met by mixed reviews from critics. In 2012, Chbosky went back into the field of film, serving as the screenwriter and director of the movie version of The Perks of Being a Wallflower. In a 2012 interview after the film was released, Chbosky revealed that he had always hoped his novel would become a film, and that he was thrilled to be so heavily involved in the production. This time, his film efforts were met with great praise: the 2012 film earned $33 million worldwide as well as numerous awards.
In addition to film and literature, Chbosky has worked in television; he wrote for the TV drama Jericho, which premiered in September of 2006 but was cancelled in 2008. The series follows the aftermath of a nuclear attack in a small Kansas town; at present, there are rumors that Netflix is interested in resurrecting the CBS series. Currently, Chbosky lives in Los Angeles, California, and continues to write, although little is known about the project he is working on at the moment. He is an active supporter of gay rights and continues to be employed as a film consultant.
Study Guides on Works by Stephen Chbosky
For many relatively young readers, Stephen Chbosky's novel The Perks of Being a Wallflower is one of the most important books of their lives. Naturally, when a film version of the 1999 novel was first announced - originally with the legendary John...