Thursday, January 14, 2016

Me, Earl, & the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

Page Count: 295
Published on: March 1, 2012
Published by: Abrams Books
Genre(s):  YA, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Source: Print: Paperback
Age Rating: PG-14

Where To Find ItGoodreads // Amazon


My Rating: 4.25 stars

Goodreads synopsis:

       It is a universally acknowledged truth that high school sucks. But on the first day of his senior year, Greg Gaines thinks he’s figured it out. The answer to the basic existential question: How is it possible to exist in a place that sucks so bad? His strategy: remain at the periphery at all times. Keep an insanely low profile. Make mediocre films with the one person who is even sort of his friend, Earl.
        This plan works for exactly eight hours. Then Greg’s mom forces him to become friends with a girl who has cancer. This brings about the destruction of Greg’s entire life.
        Fiercely funny, honest, heart-breaking—this is an unforgettable novel from a bright talent, now also a film that critics are calling "a touchstone for its generation" and "an instant classic."


Hey guys!

      I've been aching to read Me, Earl, & the Dying Girl for such a long time, and when I finally bought myself the book with my Christmas money, I started it right away. This book has intrigued me for about a year now, but when it was optioned to become a movie, and eventually became a movie, I knew I had to read it before I saw the movie. The movie looked fantastic, and the synopsis of the book sounded interesting too. 

Here is my reaction to the book after I finished it at the beginning of the year, but I will write a longer review that piggy-backs off of the things that I said in my mini-Goodreads review:

** spoiler alert ** I'd give the first half of this book a solid 5 stars, but when I got about 75% into this book it started to get really really depressing, and it went down hill from there. I'd give the second half a 3.5 star rating I suppose. Average that out and I'd give it 4.25 stars. I will definitely watch the movie. The characters in this book are really awesome, and I wish that I got to see Rachel more. My sister had acute lymphoblastic leukemia when she was seven until she was about 10 or 11. I can understand the toll that cancer can have on the victim and the family. I really wish that Rachel fought her cancer more, and I wish that her mother handled it better. Both of them stopped fighting before the worst happened. That is really sad. I wish that Greg wasn't so self absorbed, but I really liked Earl for the most part. Even when it didn't seem like he had his shit together, at the end of the day he started working for the life that he wanted. 

Overall Rating: 4.25 stars

Favorite Character: Greg's dad and Rachel

Least Favorite Character: towards the end it was Greg

Date started: December 29 @ 11pm

Date ended: January 1 @ 11:15 pm

     Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl gave me a John Green or a Shannon Lee Alexander vibe with the topic of serious illnesses and cancer, but the way that Jesse Andrews handled the subject of cancer in a very real way. I loved how she didn't romanticize the fact that Rachel had cancer and that the people around her, especially Greg, were totally awkward around her. The thing is, I've been around cancer personally. My twin sister had cancer when she was in elementary school, and everyone didn't really know how to act around her, even though she was still the same 7 year old little girl. Some would act really awkward, because they don't know what to do. The way Jesse writes her characters personalities are so raw, real, and hilarious but still kind of sad. 

      Greg is such an awkward and funny character, but towards the end, I found him to be really selfish, self-absorbed, and rude. I didn't like his mother at all, she didn't listen to her kids at all, she was so pushy, she was so rude, and I just despised her character and her overall attitude. I really liked his dad, at first I didn't, but in the end I kind of liked him. I liked his chill attitude and I liked how smart he was. His taste in food was kind of hilarious, and I loved how chill he was with Earl. Now, Earl...At first I didn't like Earl, I didn't really like the way he acted, and I didn't like is angry tendencies, but when I got to the end I thought he was really funny, and he was actually more intuitive to what Rachel needed as a friend, and he put Greg in his place towards the end when Greg was being a jerk. Earl had a really bad "potty-mouth", but I could understand why because you know where he was "brought up" and Greg explains his whole attitude.

Ok, I'm going to list the few things that I didn't like about the book, which are few, but there are some.
  • The way Greg treated Rachel....and the way he treated girls in general...I feel like he wouldn't have been so confused about the way to treat girls, if he had been somewhat taught or educated how to deal with women and girls in general. He has 2 sisters I think, you'd think he'd get a clue. Also, he made Rachel's illness about himself...always. He was so worried about how he was perceived by his peers that he basically treated Rachel like crap, and she shouldn't have to go through that. 
  • To piggy-back off of that, Greg's mother didn't listen to Greg at all when he tried to explain to her that Rachel didn't want to hang out. She got it into her head that he HAD to hang out with her, but neglected to even take Rachel's feelings. I actually kind of hate Greg's mom...
  • It's not that I didn't like Rachel, but it made me really sad that I didn't get to know her as a character. I didn't feel connected with her at all, and neither did Greg! He didn't even try to get to know her, which kind of irritated me throughout the book.
  • Greg was irritating. I liked him in the beginning, but once I got about 1/2 way through it, I started to hate him. He didn't hang out with Rachel because he wanted to, he did it because he pitied her...she didn't need that in her life, and I feel like that may have influenced her decisions and mentality towards the end. 
      As I'm writing up this review I'm realizing that I didn't really like this book as much as I thought I was. I think I'm going to drop it down to a 3.75 to 4 star rating...I'm not sure. I really did enjoy this book, but the main character was really disappointing, but Earl and the entertainment factor makes up for it I guess. The best things about this book was the way Jesse Andrews handled domestic trouble, cancer, and high school. 

      In the end, this book was really entertaining, and I don't regret reading it, but some of it was kind of disappointing. Yeah, 3.75 stars, and I think you should read it if you want to see the movie, and if you're interested you should read it.

Well, I hope you all enjoyed this review!
Happy reading everyone!

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