Me and Earl and the Dying Girl - Jesse Andrews

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.

I... Uh... I'm not sure what I just read. Wait, I don't mean that in a bad way! I just... hmmm...

Okay, so first of all, if you're a traditionalist when it comes to form, you will probably find your brain spinning a bit. There are chapters written in script format, bullet points, movie synopses, and a few done in your traditional full sentences and full paragraphs format. I'm not a traditionalist, so I didn't have an issue with this use of various formats, but I did make for some brain gymnastics at times, to go from one chapter to another and consider the impact of these different styles on the core story. I know, I know, that's my English degree coming out to play in that last sentence. But enough about the format, except to say that it's eclectic and keeps the reading experience from every falling flat!

Now, in terms of the story, let me first start by saying this: WOULD PEOPLE PLEASE STOP COMPARING EVERY BOOK ABOUT ILLNESS WITH JOHN GREEN'S BOOKS?!

Okay, now let me say, it's NOTHING like John Green's books. Andrews is crude and raw and talks about sperm and barf way more than Green ever does in TFIOS. The characters in this novel are also much less likeable in a lot of ways. Earl is a total douche, and Greg is a self-deprecating ass a lot of the time. I think Rachel was the most endearing, but even she could be an irrational individual from time to time. That being said, what I love about these types of characters, is that those moments of kindness and humility really shine through. Earl actually does some pretty great stuff at times, but because he's such an asshole most of the time, those moments really hit you in the gut and make you remember not to judge a book by its cover, to borrow the cliche.

All that being said, I liked this book a lot. Is it a masterpiece? I don't know if I can say that, but it's definitely a book that will stick with you, whether you like it or not. I've read other reviews and people seem to have the most trouble with Greg's self-deprecation and his constant reminders that the book is terrible, and I won't lie, I definitely wanted to shake him more than a few times and tell him to shut up. But then I look at my own life and think about all the times I'm writing stuff for school or my dissertation and I make the same comments as Greg, even when people tell me constantly that I need to stop.

Anyway, all that being said, I really like this book. It's not for everyone, but what book is? I think it's a unique treatment of dealing with illness and value of life and self. So if you don't mind cussing and screenplays and lists and hilarious tangents, then PICK THIS UP!



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