4 stars · fiction · young adult

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

author : jesse andrews

pages : [hardcover] 295

memorable quote : If after reading this book you come to my home and brutally murder me, I do not blame you.

favorite character : greg

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.

review :

If after reading this book you come to my home and brutally murder me, I do not blame you.

I’ve heard really good things about this book so when I saw it for a bargain price I couldn’t resist grabbing it! Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is not your typical YA novel that deals with cancer. It’s a very realistic snapshot of Greg’s life; it doesn’t revolve around any one specific thing in the novel. Instead it’s complex and the reader is taken through what he feels is important to document. You get out of it what you want.

What’s really unique about this book is that it’s told by Greg, who’s consciously writing a book. In fact, several times throughout he complains about the writing process or how terrible he believes the novel will turn out. For example, the quote above appears in the thick of the book. While Greg’s sense of humor is definitely not for everyone, I really enjoyed it. I wasn’t laughing out loud throughout the whole book but there were a few moments that really got to me. I was amused for most of the novel, however, and think that this is something I can reread and still laugh over.

Another thing that I really enjoyed about the book was how it took my expectations, that typically come when I read books in the YA genre. Being reminded of what wasn’t going to happen, by Greg, was a little distracting and pulled away from my enjoyment because I began to wonder if Jesse Andrews had made some decisions in this novel to purposefully distinguish it from other books about cancer, not because he was artistically inclined to do so. Obviously this didn’t affect me enough to make me dislike the book completely; it was still a solid novel.

I’d recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a quick, unique read. At two hundred-something pages, you can fly through this book. There’s another unique attribute that helps with that: Some of the pages are written in the form of a film script, as Greg is an aspiring director. Not only is it told humorously in this format, I thought it was a great addition to the novel because it showed another facet of Greg’s personality.

I look forward to reading more by this author.

4/5 stars


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