Sunday 26 February 2012

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

Finished February 26
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
This teen novel is written in the voice of Greg Gaines, Jewish, 17, a senior in high school in Pittsburgh. Greg has worked hard to stay under the radar, aligning himself with none of the different groups at school and generally passing through without fully engaging.
He is the typical teenage boy who is worried about what others think of him, wants to not get beaten up or publicly embarrassed, is drawn to girls but unaware of how to engage in conversation with him. His best friend is Earl, a boy with a severely dysfunctional home life. The two of them eat lunch together in the office of one of the teachers, and spend a lot of time together at Greg's house watching movies, making movies and just hanging out. When a girl that Greg was friends with when he was in sixth grade is diagnosed with leukemia, Greg's mom thinks it would be good if he renewed the friendship and spent some time with her. Greg struggles with this, not sure how to go about and ends up using weird humour riffs to entertain Rachel.
The book is written with a very strong "this is what is going on in my head" streaming style, and go back and forth between regular text and script style. Greg and Earl made films for fun because of their own fascination for certain movies. The films definitely play a role here. Greg is struggling through the high school years, unsure about how to relate to the people around him, and that really comes through here.
Can't say for sure since I haven't been one, but I get the sense that this book would really appeal to high school boys. But the appeal goes beyond that because of the growth in Greg and the issues he is dealing with.

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