Title: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
Author: Jesse Andrews
Genre: YA, Realistic Fiction, Humor
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams, April 21st 2015 (first published March 1st 2012)
Synopsis: 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.
As soon as I saw the movie trailer for Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, I knew I had to pick up the book. The movie looked every bit as charasmatic and funny as John Green’s recent book to movie adaptations. I honestly wanted to start watching it right then and there. With the book already sitting on my shelf (where it had been collecting dust for the past year) and no book sparking my interest from my TBR pile, I was officially out of excuses.
And I am kicking myself for not picking it up sooner.
The story follows Greg, a typical seventeen-year-old, almost friendless boy and his over-the-top filming sidekick, Earl. It’s his senior year of high school, and he’s prepared for it to go as smoothly as any other year. But then Greg’s mother forces him to rekindle his friendship with Rachel, a girl diagnosed with leukemia.
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is what I would have imagine happening if John Green and Andrew Smith ever had a book baby. The dialogue was realistic and the characters were amazingly honest. They were quirky people I could imagine being in my own life. Each had their flaws and triumphs, and at the core they were all incredibly human. I loved the narration that Jesse Andrews used to bring the main character, Greg, to life. The parts of the novel written in bullets and screen play format were interesting and fun. For the majority of this book, I truly believed that Greg was the author of his story. I normally find this mix of stream of concious and teenage boy humor a bit juvenile, but Jesse Andrews really worked some magic with this debut.
I read the majority of this novel while flying in a plane between two strangers. This was in itself a slightly uncomfortable situation, made worse by the fact that Me and Earl and the Dying Girl made me laugh out loud every few pages. I have never read a book before that was so wonderfully ridiculous. I challenge anyone and everyone to pick up this book and not chortle with laughter at least once.
That being said, this is definitely not your typical book about cancer. There were no great monologues of life-altering revalations. It’s simply the story as Greg experienced it.