Sunday, 26 July 2015

book club babble #2: me and earl and the dying girl

Isn't my little icon cute? It feels kinda Harry Potter-ish to me. I'm into it. 

Anyway, it's been a while since I posted my first Book Club Babble (it's here, if you want to check it out!) and I figured it was time to do another. Now I have to be honest - since that last update, the book club hasn't been going too strongly. The three of us haven't even met up yet for discussion, if you can believe it. But I'm determined. As long as we're still reading, it counts! Right? 

I told you guys in my last post that our next read would be Yours Truly by Annabel Pitcher. But to be honest, I was kind of meh about that book and wasn't even really inspired to think about it. So, we're moving on to the next one: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews. 

Here's the synopsis 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.

Plot notes: A teenage illness story without being a cliche. At times, hilarious. At other times, heartbreaking. At all times, honest. The plot doesn't seem to be a huge concern, it's more about character development and seeing how a tough situation would play out in a more authentically adolescent environment. 

Character notes: Greg is our protagonist/antihero, aspiring filmmaker and self-deprecating high-schooler. He sometimes does shitty and stupid things because hello, he's a teenager and every teenager is shitty and stupid at some point. Earl is quite possibly the most hilarious character I've ever read, but he's not exactly the stereotypical under-privileged, sassy black dude that you'd expect. He's refreshing and realistic and honestly a really good guy. Rachel lacks personality, to be brutally honest. But she's dying, so I guess she's allowed to be like that. 

Favourite quotes: “So if this were a normal book about a girl with leukemia, I would probably talk a shitload about all the meaningful things Rachel had to say as she got sicker and sicker, and also probably we would fall in love and have some incredibly fulfilling romantic thing and she would die in my arms. But I don't feel like lying to you. She didn't have meaningful things to say, and we definitely didn't fall in love. She seemed less pissed with me after my stupid outburst, but she basically just went from irritable to quiet.” 

Other books to read by this author: According to his Goodreads page, Jesse Andrews has another book coming out next spring called The Haters. He doesn't have anything else out as of now, though. 

My final thoughts: An incredibly realistic take on the much-overused YA cancer trope. It didn't blow my mind or anything, but I did thoroughly enjoy it. This book is definitely one of the funniest I've ever read - if you're allergic to R-rated humour, though, step away. Greg and Earl have pretty much exactly the sense of humour that you'd expect from two teenage boys. This is not a profound book that will make you think about the meaning of life and want to Be a Better Person. There are a couple touching moments thrown in here and there, but the majority of it is most definitely not in line with your typical cancer story. Overall, I found it refreshing. 

1 comment on "book club babble #2: me and earl and the dying girl "
  1. I've heard nothing but great things about this. I have it on hold at the library.