Written by Lauryn Smith
Remember how I was just saying that it is possible for young adult novels to be both quirky and meaningful? (I recently reviewed one that was just… not.)
I now have proof. “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” by Jesse Andrews is an awesome YA novel, one that is both entertaining and artful. It was even made into a movie recently. No, I have not seen the movie adaptation yet; I am abiding by the unspoken rule that you need to read a book before you see its movie. Now that I have read the book, I am all for seeing the motion picture; it is probably awesome, too.
The story is told from the perspective of Greg Gaines, a teenager dealing with the peril that is high school. His philosophy: be friendly to everyone, but make no friends. The logic is that if everyone knows just a little bit about you, they will generally like and accept you. Things are easier that way. The only person Greg defines as a friend is Earl, a gritty guy with a dirty mouth who lives by no rules. The boys’ shared interest is film, both the viewing of and making of. Together, they recreate all kinds of movies, most of which turn out comedic despite the intended genre.
All is well and good until one day Greg’s mom asks him to befriend Rachel, a childhood acquaintance who was recently diagnosed with leukemia. After some trial and error, Greg becomes Rachel’s welcome comedic relief. Despite his reluctance to let anyone see his films, Greg shares them with Rachel, who finds great joy in them. So much joy, that Greg and Earl vow to make a film about Rachel’s life.
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