Friday, August 29, 2014

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

by Jesse Andrews
published: Amulet Books, 2012
pages: 295

Greg Gaines is a man of little talent but his most impressive one is his ability to slide through life unnoticed and carefree.  Except that he does care quite a bit about what everyone thinks, which is why he has his life down to a science until his mom throws a wrench into it.  After finding out Rachel is diagnosed with Leukemia, he feels obligated to rekindle a friendship with her.  Along with Earl, Greg's only real friend, he makes it his mission to cheer her up but this requires him to break his previously anonymous high school lifestyle.

The cover of this book is a major reason I picked up the book; it's so colorful and the puppet strings are a really cool feature.  It's not exactly the cover you'd expect from a book about cancer, which I think is why it's so enticing.

The book we read is one that is written by Greg and we are reminded several times that he is not a writer, he is a retired film maker which is why the book sucks.  There are sections that read like a script which I like quite a bit because it reveals bits of Greg that we can't see elsewhere.

My biggest issue with this book is that I didn't really care for Greg.  I thought him annoying and much too obnoxious.  With his desire to schmooze everybody and his confessions about how he feels toward Rachel and Earl.  I wanted to like this book more than I did but I just don't.  This book became a victim of the perils of the hype.

More than anything I enjoyed this book because it made me laugh.  It had me giggling next to strangers on an airplane.  The humor is quirky and despite itself insightful.  It's the kind of humor that I would not expect in a book that deals with such a heavy topic.  That's why it comes off so well, the humor combined with Greg and Earl.

Jesse Andrews definitely has a thing going with this book.  It might not be my cup of tea but I would definitely give any of his future books a chance.

Stars: 3/5


"Compulsively readable, inevitably bawdy, and very funny."
     --Ron Koertge, author of Stoner & Spaz

"Believable and sympathetic... [Begging] comparisons to John Green's The Fault in Our Stars, it stands on its own in inventiveness, humor and heart."
     --Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"This is one funny book... What's crazy is how moving it becomes in spite of itself."
     --Booklist, starred review

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