Sunday, 10 May 2015

Book Review: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
Published by Harry N. Abrams
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.
 Looking for a hilarious contemporary that is really realistic and honest without whitewashing emotions? Then this could be the book for you but I must warn this is the type of book you will either love or it will be completely forgettable. I certainly fell on the side of love. Following an unusual type of narration this book is written as if you are reading the book that Greg the main character is writing. He is telling the story of his life and meeting the dying girl also know as Rachel. Greg and his best friend Earl are filmmakers and they slowly kindle an awkward friendship with Rachel due to Greg’s mothers meddling. The only problem is Rachel has leukemia and is dying. Chaos ensues and every thing from dirty jokes to sobbing hugs follows in this hilarious novel.

I really struggled to pick my favourite character between the 3 mains Greg, Earl and Rachel each had such important moment that just made me want to bear hug them and tell them everything would be okay. This goes double for Earl; I think if I was held at gunpoint I’d have to pick him. It is just so hard to pick a favourite become all the characters are so well rounded and developed it really felt like they were real people that experienced all the emotions that anyone who has a friend with cancer would.  I could rave about character development and how much I love them all for ages but there are some things I loved more like the friendships.

The friendship between Earl and Greg was so perfect and really reminded me of my friendship between my best friend and myself. They were the perfect amount of mean and honest I just couldn’t help but laugh whenever they got up to their shenanigans. The awkward friendship between Greg and Rachel really made the book for me too, because that all there was just a friendship and not even a good friendship but for two practical strangers they really tried and I love them for it.

Now for the part of this book that may put people off is that it is about cancer but that isn’t entirely true. Cancer is merely a subplot to the over arching themes and at times I certainly forgot this was a ‘cancer book’ and just thought I was reading any funny contemporary. The main part that makes this book different from others that could be like it is that Greg doesn’t learn anything from Rachel’s death and if we are honest that does happen in life all the time.

All up I think everyone should give this book a go because it is so meaningful in a meaningless way and just gives me all the feels. Just read it!

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