Title: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
Author: Jesse Andrews
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Published: 2015 in UK
Price: £5.99 from Waterstones
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.
This is sort of like an inception of authors as the book is written solely from the perspective of Greg, the main character. At the start of the book he directly addresses the reader telling them it’s not going to be some emotional journey where he is a better person come the end of the book. I guess I was sceptical of this because of the topic of cancer and how much the topic affects me.
Of course, a lot of teenagers don’t know how to react to such a difficult situation and this book does show one reaction quite well. Unfortunately, I just didn’t enjoy it.
I found that Greg was trying too hard to be funny and, although I know plenty of others who were laughing out loud throughout, it just didn’t tickle me in any way. I’m not saying that this book is 100% terrible – because it’s not.
The style of writing; I loved – Andrews managed to portray a teenager very well in his writing and the informal style of it only added to this. When I was reading it, it didn’t feel like an author trying to be a teenager – it was effortless.
Also, the different forms of writing used is interesting. Combining scripts of situations – a form which would be well known to Greg because of his films – but also using bullet points, lists and the standard narration show a true variation; all of which are used effectively.
I would recommend this book to people who are curious about it but would describe it as the opposite of The Fault in our Stars. Unfortunately, it wasn’t one of my favourites to read.
My rating: 3/5