16 September 2015

Review: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

Reviewer: Kristen
Author: Jesse Andrews
Pages: 295
Format: Paperback
My Rating: 7.5/10

Summary (my bae, Goodreads): Greg Gaines is the last master of high school espionage, able to disappear at will into any social environment. He has only one friend, Earl, and together they spend their time making movies, their own incomprehensible versions of Coppola and Herzog cult classics.

Until Greg’s mother forces him to rekindle his childhood friendship with Rachel.

Rachel has been diagnosed with leukemia—-cue extreme adolescent awkwardness—-but a parental mandate has been issued and must be obeyed. When Rachel stops treatment, Greg and Earl decide the thing to do is to make a film for her, which turns into the Worst Film Ever Made and becomes a turning point in each of their lives.

And all at once Greg must abandon invisibility and stand in the spotlight.

My Thoughts: I know what you're thinking: great, another book about cancer. At least, that's what I was thinking when I read the description of the book. I thought it was going to be another John Green-esqe book (you know, the profoundly beautiful and incredibly moving and the oh my god I understand life a little bit better for having read and connecting with these characters), and boy oh boy I was wrong about it. I mean, I usually am, but I'm not usually this wrong about it. This book was hilarious. And well written. And quirky. And some of the most realistic fictional feelings about fictional events that I've read in a long time. 

When the description said that Greg was the master of awkwardness, I thought that it was going to be the typical "oh my god he said one odd thing and now we must turn our backs on him and shun him from our hostile high school society", but he was honest to God, basically me in high school. Awkward. Awkward. And a little more awkward. Did I mention awkward? He was all that, and then some. But he was funny, and he was relatable, and he was fantastic and Greg was my favourite part of my novel. Which was good, since you know, he was the main character. 

The format of the book was a little wonky for my usual taste. Since Greg was into making movies, a lot of the conversational part of the book happened in script form, and there were other little add ins that helped shape the book into what it is. I didn't think I would like it, but I couldn't imagine this book without it. 

I think what I loved most about this book was that there wasn't some profound revelation, and Greg didn't somehow break free of the awkwardness that plagued him and was suddenly cured. He was who he was, he thought what he thought, and he did what he thought he could to make Rachel's life a little easier than what it was. He tried to make her laugh, he tried to be his friend. And even though he didn't always succeed, and even though the movie he tried to make for her wasn't the greatest movie he ever made, he still tried. And I think there is something incredible about the journey to trying to make her life something more even though what she had was already enough. Her life didn't revolve around Greg, and Greg's life didn't revolve around her. For the most part. 

Final Thoughts: A quirky little read that actually had me laughing out loud and constantly wishing the book was just a little longer. 

P.S. Have any of you seen the movie? How was it?

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