(via 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.
I have to admit that I chose to read this book because of a movie trailer for the Me and Earl and the Dying Girl film. It was on limited released on June 12th of this year, but I have to wait until July 1st. Find out when it comes to your town here.
The book originally came onto my radar when I saw it mentioned several times on tumblr posts that conditionally encourages, “If you liked ________, then read _____”
I’ve read almost all of the “crying” and “lovey” books, so it was time to highlight my love of twisted humor. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl did just that.
The writing style is really what sets this novel apart from the other YA books. Andrews utilizes a first person point of view, allowing the audience to get intimately acquainted with the protagonist, Greg Gaines and his cluster of a life.
“If after reading this book you come to my home and brutally murder me, I do not blame you.”
Greg is a wonderful tour guide through his life, his friendships and the lessons he’s learned about girls and attempts at being seen as more than just a pile of pudding to them. He’s brutally honest and extremely self-depreciating. He’s the anti YA male hero/protagonist.
“Usually it’s when your guard is down that you find yourself saying the most dick sentences of your life.”
“There are two kinds of hot girls: Evil Hot Girls, and Hot Girls Who Are Also Sympathetic Good-Hearted People and Will Not Intentionally Destroy Your Life (HGWAASGHPAWNIDYL).”
Despite the hilarious narrative voice, this book deals honestly with the heavy topics of teenage angst and the “coming of age” tropes: the launch from the home nest & making post-HS plans, friendship, difficult home lives,social anxiety, and of course, cancer. I was hoping that Me and Earl and the Dying Girl would be able to stand apart from other successful YA novels, and some real stinkers, and not fall down the rabbit hole of becoming overly sentimental and pedantic. Greg warns the audience several times throughout the novel that we shouldn’t set ourselves up for a love-scene or a grand epiphany about the true meaning of life.
“There was just something about her dying that I had understood but not really understood, if you know what I mean. I mean, you can know someone is dying on an intellectual level, but emotionally it hasn’t really hit you, and then when it does, that’s when you feel like shit.”
While other novels, including my favorite The Fault in Our Stars, tend to glamorize parts of the dying process, it also mirrors the success in showcasing the gritty side of acceptance; acceptance that your life is going to change no matter how much effort you put into bringing things to a halt, acceptance that one major part of life is death and the dying process, and the acceptance that any attempts at removing yourself from the process is unacceptable.
“I might accidentally become like a hermit or a terrorist or something.”