Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

This is a brilliantly funny, heartbreaking book and the début of author Jesse Andrews. It's been a little while between YA books I have loved, and I am glad I got to experience that whole can't-put-it-down thing once again. Andrews has a style similar to John Green, but a bit earthier (much more swearing and slightly less introspection). The similarity to Green is echoed in the fact that both Green's recent book The Fault in Our Stars and Me and Earl and the Dying Girl are both about teens suffering from cancer. Both, however, skip the Life Lesson style of writing, and both are better for it.

Greg Gaines doesn't really have friends . He exists on the edges of his high school carefully maintaining good relationships with all cliques but not belonging to any particular one. His only real friend is Earl and he only really hangs out with him in order to shoot movies - his one passion in life. When Greg's mum finds out that a classmate of Greg has cancer she corrals him into becoming friends with her. This is not a heart-warming tale in which Greg learns great life lessons but rather a funny and raw account of a dorky teenage boy coming to grips with the concepts of death and friendship.

The author has a strong sense of style, and the conversational tone if the book makes it extremely readable - even for reluctant readers I would imagine. Many scenes in the book are written as movie scripts or in dialogue only and organised into bullet point format. It sounds confusing but works so well to describe events and the differing internal voices that make up Greg's narrative.

And did I mention it was funny? A funny cancer book - very hard to pull off. Congrats to Jess Andrews. Greg has a great way of describing his world and especially his parents - particularly his mother.

This one is for guys and girls, reluctant readers and passionate readers, and all those in between. Highly recommended!

- Celia

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