Title: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
Author: Jesse Andrews
Publication Date: March 1st 2012
Length: 295 pages (Hardcover)
Synopsis from Goodreads:
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.
What did I just read?
Oh my god, there’s no question about it…this is one of the weirdest books I have ever, in my entire life, had the pleasure to read.
I liked it.
When I picked up Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, I didn’t know what to expect. Some people seemed to love it, and some seemed to hate it, and now, after reading it, I can see why that is. This is just the sort of book that you’ll either enjoy, or not, and it is definitely not for everyone.
If grammar is the most important thing to you, you’re out.
If you don’t like swearing, you’re most certainly out.
If you’re looking for a deep and meaningful novel that makes you question everything you know about death and love, then I strongly advice you to find another book.
On the other hand, if you like very original writing styles, incredibly weird humour, and an abundance of awkwardness, this is the book fo you.
Me? I kind of belong in both categories. Sure, I love serious books, but from time to time, it’s nice to come across books that are like no other. Swearing really doesn’t bother me, I love when books have their own voice, and in this case, I wasn’t looking for something life-changing. I was looking for something to make me laugh.
And oh boy, this book make me snort like someone paid me to do it. You’re still not sure? Okay, let me try to explain just how hilarious this book is: When I had just picked it up, I started taking note of every part that I found funny. About two chapters later, though, I declared that an impossible task. This novel is so filled to the top with laugh-out-loud moments, and oh-no-he-did-not-jut-say-that scenes, that you can’t believe it.
“It’s like when a kitten tries to bite something to death. The kitten clearly has the cold-blooded murderous instinct of a predator, but at the same time, it’s this cute little kitten, and all you want to do is stuff it in a shoebox and shoot a video of it for grandmas to watch on YouTube.”
When it comes to that “original writing style”, I probably should be more specific. You see, what I think is so special about this book, is that it’s basically a book about a boy named Greg, who is also writing the very book that you are reading (did that make any sense at all? It shouldn’t, this novel is crazy). This whole way of wrtiting is something I thought Jesse did really well, and many times throughout the book, I almost forgot that it was he, not Greg, who had written it.
Some parts were formated as scripts, there were countless lists, Greg could decide to skip parts he found uninteresting or too embarrassing, and sometimes (basically all the time), he drifted away from the story, and instead started telling the reader about some completely irrelevant thought he’d had. He also advised the reader to put down the book because it was too sucky to handle…which actually kind of boosted my curiosity. ;)
“If after reading this book you come to my home and brutally murder me, I do not blame you.”
When it comes to Greg, the main character and teller of the story, I don’t really know what to say. He’s so brutally honest, and constantly tries to make the reader dislike him. His self-esteem is pretty much non-existent, and he’s always trying to make people laugh, even (or especially) if it means humiliating and downgrading himself, because that’s the only thing he feels he’s good at. He goes through life trying to be on everybody good side, but never really friends with anybody.
I really enjoyed Greg’s voice, and I can actually relate to him when it comes to some things. It’s really awful making jokes that you don’t realise are stupid until they’re already released into the world, impossible to take back.
“I called the doctor and he said you needed a prescription of Greg-acil.”
While I really liked this story, its characters, and its unique writing style, I sadly have to admit that I kind of lost interest about half-way through the book. The jokes got a bit old, I wanted to shake Greg, and I just got kinda tired of it all.
Still, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is absolutely quite something. It will have you laughing one minute, and then widening your eyes the next. It will have you crying, and it will have you smiling like crazy. It constantly shifts from being silly to being serious, and is, to put it simple, a god damned roller coaster.
It was cool and different, and if that’s your thing, you should most definitely pick up this book.
“I don’t want to sound condescending, so I’m not going to say anything else, except that it is literally impossible to imagine a thing dumber than sports.”
“I definitely didn’t know how to make jokes that weren’t part of a movie, and so instead I would freak out and try to think of the most interesting possible thing to say.”