Author: Jesse Andrews
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Humor
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl goodreads page here
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
SYNOPSIS: “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.”
I received a paperback edition directly from Allen & Unwin in exchange for an honest review.
Let me just say that this was a fantastic novel; I probably would have given it 5 stars in different circumstances. However, I had INSANELY high hopes as people rave about this novel, but sadly it didn’t live up to those standards.
The main thing that hooked me about this novel is the fact that it’s based around death, but it is spoken about in a light hearted and humorous way. Other readers promised that it was hilarious and they were in hysterics through most of the novel. I for one can honestly say I only chuckled a few times. My sense of humour is quite dark, so I’m genuinely surprised this didn’t tickle my funny bone!
The friendship aspect of this story is what really pulled me in. Greg is quite a loner (not that I’m teasing because I can relate!), as in he doesn’t exactly have friends yet is friendly to everyone. In his own way, this means that there is zero attention on him and zero enemies which are always great. That is obviously until his mother forces him to hang out with the sickly girl Rachel, and they become rather friendly. I love how Greg goes out of his comfort zone to make her happier, even if it’s just by talking about the most random topics together.
That being said, most of the characters had no personality and I had such a hard time differentiating them. Rachel was boring and didn’t have anything exciting to say ever, I understand that she was sick and didn’t feel up to having visitors most of the time, but I would rather watch paint dry than read about her. Now don’t even get me started about Earl and Greg! They are basically the same person exact person, except Earl swears more. They both don’t like a lot, pretty lazy and very annoying!
One thing that infuriated me at times is the narration. The protagonist, Greg, is telling the story in a somewhat memoir style, as in he is telling a past story and adding in his own comments about the events. I’m sure this is one of the reasons why it’s such a well loved novel, but I found it to be extremely annoying. I understand the comments were necessary as it portrays his emotions about Rachel and the overall situation, but at times I felt the story would have been more enjoyable without them. That they were pulling from the main aspect of the story, that being the friendship, or lack of, between the three.
Now thinking back on it the only thing I really enjoyed was the concept of the story, however the characters and humour just didn’t impress me. Just need to iterate the fact I don’t hate this novel, and highly recommend this to everyone! It just that the humour let me down immensely, but people say you either have a love or hate relationship with this, so you have been warned!