Book Review: ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL

me and earl and the dying girl coverAuthor: Jesse Andrews

Number of Pages: 295

Publisher: Amulet Books

Release Date: March 1, 2012

“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.”

– Goodreads.com

I have walked past this book so many times in libraries and bookstores, filled with absolute adoration for the cover design. I mean, look at it! It’s so unique and colorful and eye-catching! I’m not going to lie, that’s the main reason I picked this book up and read the back cover blurb in the first place. It sounded interesting and I had read reviews online that it was funny, so I decided to give it a go. Sadly, I was fairly disappointed in this novel. I was really surprised, because the overall consensus among readers seems to be that it’s a great book- I just don’t think it’s the book for me.

At first I enjoyed the way Greg (the main character) narrated the novel. I thought he was clever and funny, and I could relate with a lot of what he said. He described the social hierarchy of high school excellently, making him a believable narrator. However, as I got further and further into the book his funniness began to wear off. It seemed as if every other chapter he said, “Don’t read on, really, I don’t know why you’re even bothering reading this book.” Eventually the repetition got so annoying that I felt like saying, “Fine then, maybe I WILL put down the book!” Nevertheless I continued on, even though the situation did not improve from there. This novel didn’t even feel like it had a definite story arc- I found myself frequently questioning what the point of the story even was. I did enjoy the different formats he incorporated into his writing (bulleted lists, scripts, etc.) but that was one of the only major positive aspects of this novel that really stuck out to me. The unique formats helped to keep it engaging and interesting even when I was contemplating putting it down.

One thing I did not like about this novel was the way it nonchalantly addressed Rachel’s leukemia. Cancer is quite a serious topic, and I do not think it was dealt with correctly. I don’t even know how to describe it- everything concerning her leukemia seemed just so nonchalant. I guess the best way to try to explain it is to say that it was as if it was almost a minor part of the plot even though, judging by the title, one would assume that it played a major role in the book. In some ways, this is true, but for much of the novel (especially the end!) it’s like it didn’t even matter.

Overall, my feelings toward Me and Earl and the Dying Girl are extremely mixed. There are some aspects that I did enjoy, such as the clever narration and the unique writing style, but there were also others that I could have gone without. I think the problem is that I expected this book to be one thing, but in actuality it was something totally different.

My Rating: :0) :0) :0) 3 out of 5 smileys.

Would I recommend it to a friend?: Yes. If you are looking for a quirky, light, fun read then this is your book. It does deal with the issue of cancer, but the way it is written is not overwhelmingly sad. Please don’t let my rather negative review of this book sway you from reading it if you really want to!

Have you ever read this book? What are your thoughts on it? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

 

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