Sunday, March 25, 2012
Book Talk: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
Released: March 2012
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams
Genre: Young Adult - Contemporary
This book was freaking ridiculous.
Here you are opening a book knowing that this is about a death. It's been covered many times, but I can guarantee you that it has not been covered in the way Jesse Andrews covers it because this book about death is freaking riduciously HILARIOUS!
I know what you're thinking. How can a book about a girl who has cancer be funny? Well, because you have Greg who is this kid that doesn't really have friends. I mean he gets along with everyone and follows whatever crowd he's with. I take that back - he does have one friend. Earl, this pint size guy who cusses worse than a sailor and could make anyone turn red with his blunt mouth. I get it though. Being short sucks and sometimes you just have to have a tough exterior to deal with a tall-type of world. Greg's mom gets him to befriend Rachel, someone he hasn't been "friends" with forever, because she's dying.
Besides being a hilarious book, it's kind of weird. It bounces around here and there with scenes of Greg's life that in some ways don't make sense to the plot, but since Greg is the one telling the story, he'll point out that he doesn't know what he's talking about. But yet, it was perfect for the plot because this isn't just a story about him becoming friends with Rachel again. This is his life. His odd life of having a very angry best friend who love to make movies together. Horrible movies, but yet I wish they existed because they sound genius. Especially since there are sock puppets involved. But back on track here: Greg doesn't really understand friendship or what to do with life. Sometimes it's hard to relate to him, but I still really liked him as a character and reading his story.
Going into the book even though Greg tells you flat out this isn't going to be a sappy kind of moments. There isn't going to be some big reveal of life or self discovery. Even towards the end I thought there could be, but it's not what the book was about. I'm glad that it never turned into some BIG MOMENT where all the characters finally realize what's so grand and important in life. Don't get me wrong - I like those stories, but not every story needs it because not every horrible experience in actual real life changes you as a person. And if it did, I think we'd all be saints by now. Sure you can learn from those horrible experiences and I think Greg, Earl, and Rachel did learn things about life in their own way whether they were moving or not, but it wasn't needed to fit the type of story I think Greg was trying to tell us.
There are a few authors who I can tell from reading a debut will stand out on their own. Jesse Andrews is one of those authors. His writing is blunt. He has the ability to touch on some dark times yet make you laugh about them too. It's crazy to say I laughed in every chapter when a big chunk of the story was about a girl dying of cancer. But that's how good his writing is. It's realistic, it's in your face, but this read definitely isn't for everyone. There is loads of language and some scenes where drugs are used. I won't lie - if Greg and Earl were real and I had went to school with them, I would have totally gotten stoned with them. Those boys were cracking me up in some scenes so much I about peed myself!
So basically to sum up this review that I have tried to write four times, and I still think doesn't sound the best and doesn't do it justice, but that's what happens when you wait too long to talk about a book you loved, I will say: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl was ridiculous in that really good, you must go out and buy it now, type of way.