Wednesday, June 17, 2015

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


"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."

Well. I'm not sure I'm upset about it, but I didn't like this one at all. I saw the movie trailer in theaters before "Pitch Perfect 2", and thought "I have to see this - it looks so cute!"


Andrew's writing style is crass. It's unapologetic. It's weird. And he tells you that's how it's going to be. He literally writes "If after reading this book you come to my house and brutally murder me, I do not blame you." I should have taken him at his word.

I may not want to murder him, but I don't want to read anything he writes again. 

Here's my issue, besides the crass unapologetic-ness (which I'm sure is a word..ha) - there's zero sympathy. Have you ever been around someone who has little to no sympathy for someone? I have, and it's not fun. I'm never one to ask for someone to take it easy on me, but sometimes, you need it. Andrew's main character, Greg, is essentially forced into a friendship with Rachel - I understand that. I get that. And it's not fun to be forced into things. I also understand that, but,  (*semi-spoiler alert!*) after spending a certain amount of time with her, there's no change in how he feels. Nothing

My best friend of my entire life had cancer, and she would always tell me that she didn't want people looking at her and only seeing cancer. Only being kind because of cancer. Taking special precautions because there's cancer. 

But folks, being a kind human being and being kind because of cancer - that's two different things. I don't think that Greg needed to be kind to Rachel because of her cancer. I'm not even sure his life should have been changed forever because of the cancer, but I do think that there should have been at least some sort of kindness. Some sort of change. And I'm pretty sure the movie will do that. It will give the crass, unapologetic words some life. Some sort of emotion. But, it won't erase the fact that Jesse Andrew's has no sympathy.

I don't recommend this book, and I'm not sure I want to see the movie either. It was a frustrating read, and I'm glad it's over. 

On to the next,

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