Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
Author: Jesse Andrews
Reading Level: Young Adult
Genres: Realistic Fiction | Contemporary | Humor
Released: April 21st 2015 (revised edition)
Review Source: Purchased
The book that inspired the hit film!
Sundance U.S. Dramatic Audience Award
Sundance Grand Jury Prize
This is the funniest book you’ll ever read about death.
It is a universally acknowledged truth that high school sucks. But on the first day of his senior year, Greg Gaines thinks he’s figured it out. The answer to the basic existential question: How is it possible to exist in a place that sucks so bad? His strategy: remain at the periphery at all times. Keep an insanely low profile. Make mediocre films with the one person who is even sort of his friend, Earl.
This plan works for exactly eight hours. Then Greg’s mom forces him to become friends with a girl who has cancer. This brings about the destruction of Greg’s entire life.
Fiercely funny, honest, heart-breaking—this is an unforgettable novel from a bright talent, now also a film that critics are calling "a touchstone for its generation" and "an instant classic."
Greg S. Gaines is the "Me" in the title and the narrator. I don't know how the author got into such a mindset to write like this character, but it is brilliant. There are no gaps in Greg; this character is so consistent. He carries out this persona of a slightly socially awkward, insecure senior in high school. It's great. You're reading the book and it feels like you're just talking to a friend. A strange, introverted friend, but a friend.
The real meat of the story begins when Rachel, an old friend of Greg's, gets leukemia. Now, Greg makes it very clear from the beginning that this is not a story about a girl who beats the odds and falls madly in love with her new found friend via cancer.
In fact, Rachel has very little dialogue in this story. This story really is about how Greg learns about himself by having this experience with Rachel. Also how Greg and his friend Earl grow together. It's a beautiful story. Even though the topic of death is something that comes up frequently, it's still one of the most hilarious things I have ever read. Greg's lack of confidence mixed with Earl's blunt personality is the best combination of characters I have seen in a long time.
However, due to this book being written as if the narrator were speaking to you, it got a bit rambly in some parts and some part were a bit irrelevant. Even if they still made me laugh out loud.
There's so much more that could be said about this book, but you'll just have to read it for yourself to understand the full gravity of it.
Also, Earl may just be my favorite character of all time.
Winner of the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL is the uniquely funny, moving story of Greg (Thomas Mann), a high school senior who is trying to blend in anonymously, avoiding deeper relationships as a survival strategy for navigating the social minefield that is teenage life. He even describes his constant companion Earl (RJ Cyler), with whom he makes short film parodies of classic movies, as more of a 'co-worker’ than a best friend. But when Greg’s mom (Connie Britton) insists he spend time with Rachel (Olivia Cooke) – a girl in his class who has just been diagnosed with cancer - he slowly discovers how worthwhile the true bonds of friendship can be.