Me & Earl & the Dying Girl
By: Jesse Andrews
I’ve waited a long time to post a review for this book because I really just didn’t know what to say. This book is..weird, but in a good way!!
I actually ended up picking this up in a whim at the Dollar Tree because I was looking for something new and fresh. I didn’t have hugely high expectations for this book because I had never heard of it before picking it up. I read it all in one night. It was absolutely hilarious.
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.
This book is hugely different from most “cancer” books out there in the market. If you’re expecting something like John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, turn back now. Actually, run. Fast. Get away from this book now because you will be hugely disappointed. If you want a book that has a beautiful message about the meaning of life and death, please do not pick this up. This book does not have a beautiful, heartwarming life message. It does, however, have some of the most colorful characters I have ever seen in a novel.
This book is not about cancer. This book focuses on Greg, a chubby, hormonal teenager, and his many attempts to survive his senior year of high school and make “epic” (shitty) movies with his friend Earl. Rachel’s leukemia is a subplot, that’s it. Andrews doesn’t manipulate your emotions at all. I never once felt the need to cry over Rachel’s condition. Literally the entire point of the novel is shit happens. Shit happens, people die, and life kinda sucks sometimes.
Greg is a freaking hilarious protagonist. His self-deprecating humor and banter with his friend Earl left me in tears from laughing so hard. I have never laughed so hard at a book. Be warned, however, this is probably not a book you can give to kids under 14, because there is a whole lot of swearing and Greg’s friend Earl loves to talk about female “parts”, if you catch my drift.
I loved the fact that Greg felt so real. He is not perfect in any way, and he’s kinda unlikable at times. Greg is being forced to hang out with Rachel, but the thing is, he really doesn’t want to. He doesn’t find something more meaningful when faced with her situation, nor does he fall hopelessly in love with her. He’s kinda uncomfortable with the whole situation, and I personally think that Greg’s reaction to Rachel’s illness is incredibly realistic and representative of a normal human reaction. Some people will dislike the fact that Greg is so indifferent to Rachel’s sickness, but I didn’t mind it one bit.
All in all, this was a quick but fantastic read.
4/5 stars 🙂
Also, look at that cover! It’s one of the most beautiful covers I have ever seen!!