I’m here today (well, tonight— it’s 11pm in England and I’m not too sure how that happened!) to talk to you about a book that I both recently read and LOVED.
My friend and fellow booktuber recently put online that she was giving away some books, and she asked me if I wanted to pick up any, and as soon as I spotted ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL, I just knew that I had to grab it before anybody else did! I’ve heard so much about it, after all.
But the only problem with picking up a book that you’ve heard a lot about is the fact that they always have so much hype and expectation around them— I admit, I was nervous about starting to read it, because I desperately wanted to like it!
However, the other afternoon I picked it up off the stack of books that I had generously been given, went to slot it into a space on my bookshelf…but before I knew what I was doing, I was sat on my bedroom floor and nearly 100 pages. I couldn’t put it down. But before I get more into it, here’s what the book is about:
My name is Greg Gaines. I am seventeen. I am the one who wrote this book. My physical appearance is unsatisfactory, and there is probably fungus eating my brain. I’m not even sure I’m human.
Earl Jackson is the only person who is even sort of my friend. We make mediocre films together. Werner Herzog is our biggest influence. Earl is generally filled with violent rage.
During my senior year, my mom forced me to become friends with a girl who had cancer. This brought about the destruction of my entire life.
So, as you can see from the blurb, ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL is a book that is packed with humor and weird jokes and flawed characters that you come to love anyway just because they’re so well written— it is not your typical book.
Yes, one of the three eponymous characters is dying, and has cancer, but if you are expecting a novel similar to a John Green novel, then this is not the book for you— but I recommend that you pick it up anyway.
I really enjoyed the style that the book is written in. Even though the main character, Greg, isn’t always the politest of characters, you really get a sense that he is trying his best, even if he can’t see it. For a book that is written from Greg’s point-of-view, and for the reader to still see the two sides of Greg, I feel that this is a major achievement that Jesse Andrews has managed to pull off in the writing.
It was also really nice to see the different formats that the story takes. As mentioned, Greg and Earl like to make movies from home— something that they enjoyed doing ever since they were young boys— and as aspiring move makers, some scenes are written like a film script. I really felt as though this helped to speed up the pace of the book, and added something new to the mix— it’s not usually something that we experience in a novel, and so it was nice to have a change. It certainly helps to make the book even more memorable than it would be anyway.
As well as this, the book regularly breaks the fourth wall and talks directly to us, the reader. At times, you genuinely do feel as though this book was written by Greg— it reads so convincingly. In fact, near the start of the novel, I actually did go back to read the ‘About The Author’ section of the book— that alone should tell you something.
Earlier on I mentioned how the book features flawed characters. Both Greg and Earl both have their many flaws that are explored within the novel, and— I’m not sure if this is a tad spoiler-y, so read this little bit at your own risk!— not all of their flaws are fixed by the end. I found this to be really nice to read— it made the characters feel more realistic and they truly leapt off the page.
ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL, at its heart, is truly a work of fiction that is highly character-driven, but at the same time, I really enjoyed where the plot went. I didn’t see the end coming, but obviously I don’t want to delve into this too much, but it was interesting to see how the book tackled cancer and Rachel, the “dying girl” from the title, and how the three character’s relationships changed from the start of the novel to the end of the novel.
All in all, this was a book that I throughly enjoyed, and I can safely say it did live up to my expectations— and surpassed them too. If I was to rate it, I would give it 5 STARS.
Also, in very exciting news, I was told the other day that ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL is going to be coming to the big screen! Reportedly, it was shown at the Sundance festival, and Fox have bought the distribution rights, meaning that the film is all made, edited, and ready to go! This explains why we haven’t seen much promotion so far, but I’ve been told that Fox are going to start their promotional campaign in the very near future, and to expect the film in 2016.
Hopefully this will encourage more people to pick up this book!
So, thank you very much for reading, and if you do go along to pick up ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL, or if you’ve read it already, then do please leave your thoughts down below in the comments as I would love to know what you thought!
All the best and take care,