REVIEW: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
Thanks to NetGalley and Amulet Books for allowing me to review this ARC 🙂
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Greg Gaines has worked hard to be a totally neutral, sort-of friend to all and enemy to none throughout his entire high school career. As he goes into his senior year, he fully hopes to make it through as easily as possible in just the same way he has been doing it for the last 3 years.
This is changed when his mother tells him that Rachel, a girl he kind of dated for a week or so in middle school, has been diagnosed with leukemia…and wouldn’t it be nice if he could go spend some time with her?
Greg does what his mother wants him to do, because that is the only way to get her off his back. He visits Rachel a few awkward times and discovers that he is good at making her laugh. Then, he visits her and brings along his only close friend/coworker, Earl.
Earl lets Rachel in on a secret: he and Greg are filmmakers. Since Rachel is sick, they agree to let her see the films that only they have seen. As Greg and Earl spend more time with Rachel, the dynamic becomes interesting. And just maybe Greg can learn something from his time with Rachel.
So, I read this book in about 4 hours, even though it is over 300 pages. It was just that awesome. I LOVED everything about it.
First of all, Greg as a narrator is awesomely and awkwardly hilarious. It is so different to be about to see into the mind of a teenage BOY for once. And I loved what I saw. His thoughts are random but coherent. He tells the truth about how things are, even if he is a bit self-deprecating.
Earl is also great. At first I took a little offense to why Greg would be speaking properly while Earl, the black kid, spoke ghetto slang and improper sentences. But as the book neared its’ end, I completely understood why Earl and the author did things this way. I won’t say why, so I don’t spoil things for you, but it was something fantastic.
Even though this is technically a book about a dying girl, Rachel is not characterized too much, and she’s not really in that much of the book. I can also understand the reason for this, also sometimes I think I may be reading too deeply into things.
The plot was very believable–every only son wants to please his mother, right? Not to mention that the Gaines family is Jewish, so if we’re being a bit stereotypical that makes him want to please her even more.
This book made me laugh out loud countless times, and I still can’t believe how fast I read it. Basically I knew as soon as I started it, I had to finish it. If this is the first novel for Jesse Andrews, I cannot wait to see what improvements, if any can be made, come with experience.