18 May 2017

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

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

Title: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
Author: Jesse Andrews
Published: 06/08/2015, Allen & Unwin
Pages: 308
Source: Bought
Format: Paperback

Rating: 4/5

"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."

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is a very unique and somewhat odd take on the usual cancer-focused read. It's actually a really fun, enjoyable and humorous read and not at all serious or meaningful. I found myself quite enjoying the story ad even giggling away to myself.

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl has a strange selection of characters. First, there is Greg, your average high school loner who somehow speaks to everyone. He doesn't have any friends but will try to speak to everyone. I just thought he was so easy-going and likeable, even downright hilarious. Although, I will admit his humour had me cringing at times and there were a few WTF moments. He's also not the cleverest.

Earl is a hard one to describe. He's just Earl. He's definitely more serious and straight-talking than Greg. Probably due to his unconventional upbringing. And he definitely puts Greg in his place and calls him out when it's needed. He's quite a prickly character in a way, but I can't help but love him. I think he's actually a bit of a softy at heart.

There's not too much I can say about Rachel. She's the "Dying Girl" and she's lovely and sweet, but I didn't really care for her that much. I thought her character was a bit one-dimensional.

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is told from Greg's perspective, but it's in no way simple. Some sections of the story are like a movie script, and there's also sections of bulleted lists, amongst the standard first-person perspective. It's just another way that makes this book so unique.

In terms of plot, I'd say that Me and Earl and the Dying Girl felt very slow and a bit lacking. There really wasn't much to the plot at all really, in my opinion. In fact, the book has a lot of background to it, but not much plot-wise. It's also a bit predictable. but then there's a massive clue is in the title. However, some parts were just so random. I didn't think there was too much to the ending either really -  it just sort of ended and that was that.

Despite some faults, I really did enjoy Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. I just loved the unique aspects to the story and how it was told. A big part of my enjoyment was definitely down to the characterisation too. I'd definitely recommend Me and Earl and the Dying Girl to those looking for something different and I'm definitely going to keep my eye out for more by Jesse Andrews.

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