In honour of the movie released this month, I decided to start my blog with a discussion of “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” by Jesse Andrews. The word I’ll use to describe this book is “hilarious”. That’s all you need to know before diving into this beautiful story narrated by Greg. And with Greg there is Earl and of course “The Dying Girl” Rachel. But be warned. This is not like any other cancer story where you will be left bawling your eyes out in pity and unfairness of the situation. And as Greg mentions, you will be offered no great insight into life by reading this story. But what you will get is a heart-warming story about friendships. When going into the story expect a light summer-read and you will not be disappointed.
Goodreads Summary –
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.
Greg is made out to be a very adorable character and his sense of homour is right up my alley but sometimes I found myself to be very annoyed with his antics. I found myself shouting out “Seriously!” a lot which basically means I found Greg’s complete lack of emotion towards Rachel except at the very end frustrating. And sometimes I felt that the story lacked direction. Especially the parts after Rachel is admitted to the hospital but before they started making the movie sort of bored me. But the characters are so well-rounded and lovable! They alone uplift the story to a whole new level. Do you agree? Don’t you? Let me hear your opinion in the comments.
The biggest aspect of the book, which I have mentioned before, is the hilarious (Yep! There’s that word again!) and honest Greg. Greg, as a narrator, couldn’t be any better. Here’s an example of his wry sense of humour.
“So in order to understand everything that happened, you have to start from the premise that high school sucks. Do you accept that premise? Of course you do. It is a universally acknowledged truth that high school sucks. In fact, high school is where we are first introduced to the basic existential question of life: How is it possible to exist in a place that sucks so bad?”
And this is just the beginning. Does this make you stop reading this post and go read this book instead? And for the people who have already read this, to go re-read again? It doesn’t? Okay. Here’s another one.
“When girls see two Unattractives dating, they think, ‘Hey! Love is possible even for unattractive people. They have to love different things about each other than their physical appearances. That’s so sweet.’ Meanwhile, dudes see it and think, ‘That is one less guy I have to compete with for the most succulent boobs in the Boob Competition that is high school.’”
So, this is Greg. An awkward, self-depreciating, hilarious teenager. But there is also Earl. I loved Earl’s character a lot. His pep talk to Greg is the funniest yet the most heart-warming thing I have ever seen. And Rachel. Thank God she wasn’t made out to be a sympathy arousing diseased person most cancer patients are made out to be (Exception- John Green ladies and gentlemen!). Her wit and the way she handles Greg are what made her more endearing. But Earl is my favorite. Who’s yours?
I liked the book a lot even though I had some problems with it. But there is a lot of argument between readers about this book. Either people like it or they hate it. The main concern seems to be that some people just do not get the sense of humour in it. But I think people who loved either John Green books or books like “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” are going to like it. So, what are you waiting for? Go try it! And let’s continue the discussion in comments.
My rating – 3.5/5.
My Goodreads rating – 4/5.