The popular teen coming-of-age novel, "The Perks of Being a Wallflower", by Stephen Chabosky, about a boy's difficult freshman year in high school, is now a successful motion picture. There has always been a big demand for coming-of-age tales, in both print and in the movies; probably because everyone can relate to the subject matter. Some of these books are poignant, some funny, others tragic. Occasionally, there will be one that somehow encompasses all of the above.
Like "Wallflower", many of these books have gone on to become big box office draws. Let's take a look at just a few.
Though it may seem a little old fashioned in this day and age, one of the most beloved coming-of-age books is the homespun classic, "Mama's Bank Account". This collection of short stories by Kathryn Forbes, about growing up in early twentieth century San Francisco in a poor, but loving Norwegian family, was a Broadway play called "I Remember Mama" before making it to the big screen in a 1948 George Stevens' production, by the same title, starring Irene Dunn and Barbara Bel Geddes.
A more recent book, "The Secret Life of Bees: A Novel" by Sue Monk Kidd, is well on its way to being a classic. The story, set in early 1960's South Carolina, revolves around 14-year-old Lily, who runs away from her abusive father to live with an eccentric trio of black, beekeeping sisters. The book was made into a popular film with an all-star cast, including Dakota Fanning, Jennifer Hudson, Queen Latifah and Alicia Keys, in 2008.
"Lord of the Flies" by William Golding, about a group of British school children stranded on a remote island who form their own civilization, has been adapted to film twice. The first movie, released in 1963, received considerably more praise and enthusiasm than the 1990 version, which was a moderate success but had mixed reviews.
Another coming-of-age book which has been made into a film more than once is Natalie Babbitt's timeless fable "Tuck Everlasting". Though this story about a sheltered young Winnie Foster, who befriends a mysterious family of immortals, is often viewed as a children's book, it focuses very much on the transitional period of adolescence and offers valuable life lessons.
Though these stories may have a special appeal to those going through this particular stage of life, anyone who remembers what it's like to travel the path from childhood to adulthood can greatly appreciate them.