Thursday, September 26, 2013

REVIEW--Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

Despite teens being some of the funniest people I know, there just doesn't seem to be a lot of funny YA lit.  It leans more towards the dark, depressing, and angst-driven (ok, teens can be all of that, too!).  So I was excited to read Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews because I heard it had that funny factor (even with a dying girl as a main character).  So here's my review on it!

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl 

Summary from Goodreads:
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.

The Gist:
Greg Gaines likes to fit in with every clique but not belong to any of them.  He has a "just get through high school" mentality, you might say.  He and his buddy (or rather, "business partner") Earl make pretty mediocre films (based off of actual films) in their spare time.   
Greg's mom forces him to befriend Rachel, a former elementary school friend who has been diagnosed with leukemia.  And he's finding that it's not so easy anymore to go unnoticed.

What I Loved:
  • The chapter titles were funny--loved them!
  • This is definitely a funny book--there are quirky sayings, great lists, and random script formats.  All work well to add to the humor of the book.
  • This is a cancer book that ISN'T sad.  THANK YOU, Jesse Andrews!
  • There are some very quirky characters, like the teacher who demands facts, the Dad who eats weird foods, etc.
  • I appreciated Earl calling Greg out on his "friendship" with Rachel.  I was wanting to yell at Greg myself for this!

What I Didn't Love:
  • So. Much. Foul. Language.  Like cussing and crude.  Ugh.
  • Greg just doesn't develop much concern or care for Rachel.  He even says that if she gets better he won't be friends with her anymore--kind of an unlikeable trait, Greg.
  • I felt like the reader just gets to skim the surface.  Little happens at school, we didn't get to know Rachel as well, etc.  I wanted more depth in some places.
  • I know I mentioned that the book is crude, but it can use re-emphasizing.  So crude!  Talk about gross discussions on barf, boobs,'s like the guys can't behave like human beings.  And I just don't think girls would sit by and laugh at it all the time...I think they'd be totally grossed out.

My favorite quote:  (Regarding the Food Network) "It's always a food competition.  Food isn't a sport.  It's ridiculous for cooks to be competing against each other.  Like in Iron Chef, it always takes place in Kitchen Stadium.  Kitchen Stadium?  That's ridiculous.  And at the end it's always like, You have competed honorably.  How is it possible to be dishonorable?  You were making a stew."

*I'm starting something new here in my reviews!  Because I love the "Keep Calm and Carry On" posters, I will be creating one that I think best represents the book, a character, my feelings, etc.  And I'll make a poster worthy of the book.  So for Greg and Earl's love of mediocre movie-making, here's their poster:

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