Reviewed by Kendi Bryers
REALITY OF LIFE
The book Me and Earl and the Dying Girl was written by Jesse Andrews and was published March 1st 2012 by Abrams Brooks. It is a perfect blend of comedy and drama, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is about a senior at Benson High School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania named Greg Gaines. Throughout his entire life Gregg has not had any friends, except Earl but he refers to him as a co-worker even though they are best friends and his only friend. Greg likes to live his life alone and doesn’t want to belong in any clique for the sake of others in opposing cliques hating him. He continues to follow his rules of not talking to people until his ex-girlfriend, Rachel, develops leukemia and Greg is forced to be friends with her by his overly dramatic mom. Rachel, Greg, and Earl then become friends and Greg's life drastically changes, for the good and the bad. High school won't be the same for Greg Gaines.
There are many favorable parts but the best part is when Greg is just about to give up making a movie to cheer up Rachel and Earl says, in a not so nice way, why Greg is being a "baby" and should stop thinking about himself. Rachel, the only person who cares about him, is dying and the least he could do is finish the movie. "I'm so tired of you treating this girl like she's a burden. You know, her life is over after this and you want to come over here [b] ing and whining about some irrelevant [bs]. Like, you care so much about what other people think, boy, you go round here kissing errybody's [a ] pretending like they're your friend. Look, nobody gives a [s ] about you, Greg! All right? Nobody gives a [s].” Earl says she thinks the world of him so Greg shouldn't give up on her so easy and make the best of her short time left. This motivates Greg to keep trying to make the perfect movie. Eventually Greg finishes the movie and gives it to Rachel in the hospital as she lays dying. This is the best part because it exhibits everyone's true colors in the story, Greg's low self-esteem and selfishness, also Earl's bravery and the fact that he actually has a heart. Coincidentally the best part is also the central conflict and just a warning, spoilers ahead.
The central conflict begins at the point in the story when Greg decides that to make Rachel feel better, he and Earl will make a movie for her because she loves their films so much.
No matter how hard Greg tries, the movie is never good enough for Rachel because she thinks so much of him. After a few failed attempts at the perfect movie Greg is just about to give up until Earl gives his big motivational but ego hurting speech about how Rachel is the only person who cares about him. "And the point of Rachel the Film should really have been to express how awful and [s ] that loss was, that she would have become a person with a long awesome life if she had been allowed to continue living, and that this was just a stupid meaningless loss, a mother[f ] loss, a loss loss loss [f ] loss, there was no [f ] meaning to it, there was nothing that could come out of it..." . When Greg finally finishes it he takes it to Rachel in the hospital and they watch it together. Sadly, Rachel dies as they are watching it together but she died the happiest Greg has ever seen her.
The overall theme of Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is acceptance and love. Love doesn't just mean in a relationship; it could be platonic. Anyone could love their friend and when you lose them to cancer it's hard. "I mean, you can know someone is dying on an intellectual level, but emotionally it hasn’t really hit you, and then when it does, that's when you feel like [s]. “Many people love someone who has cancer and they know that they are dying but they don't know they are. When you finally accept the fact that you are going to lose someone you love, like Greg accepted the fact he was going to lose Rachel soon, it kills you.
I rate this book 4/5 for plot but 3/5 for writing. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl has a really good plot, funny characters, and overall is a terrific book but I was not a fan of the writing style. Jesse Andrews wrote the book in a diary format and in a play format which, in my opinion, is a horrible mix. I also couldn't get a strong connection to the characters in Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves sad stories, drama, and comedy and occasional inappropriate language. If you liked The Fault in Our Stars you will love this book. If you do like this book, you should read The Hater by the same author. Thank you for listening to my review and I hope you enjoy the story just as much as I did.