Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

“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.”  (Goodreads Synopsis)

“So in order to understand everything that happened, you have to start from the premise that high school sucks.” (Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, Chapter 1, Sentence 1)

This is a story about a boy telling his story of knowing a girl with cancer. No, this book is NOTHING like The Fault in Our Stars. Yes, they both feature a girl with cancer. That is about as far as the similarities go. Oh, and the fact that this was made into a movie as well. I swear, that’s all the similarities I can think of.

As many of you know, or will know immediately, I commute to work…about an hour each way. As such, most of my reading gets done via audio books in my car. This was one such book. I would like to warn anybody reading this review that listening to this on audio is not a good idea if you are driving—driving while having your head thrown back in laughter is not safe. No accidents occurred during the listening of this book, but a squirrel nearly bit it.

Another warning, the main character and his friend Earl do their best to gross each other out. This means that you will read very creative and highly inappropriate insults and references to things that, depending on your humor, will offend or amuse you. I would love to give some examples here, but I’ll just say that anytime Earl is about to eat Pa Gaines’s food or something Vietnamese, there are references to donkey genitalia.

I ended up giving this book 3 out of 5 stars on Goodreads because it has its moments of awkward high school humor, but I wasn’t overly fond of any of the characters at the end of the book. I like my characters with spunk and drive…I do not like my characters to meekly accept what life has thrown at them. In short, this book was just too realistic for me. Give me my fantasy novels any day of the week.

So, reader of this review, read it or don’t read it. If you do read it, you will get some chuckles– but don’t expect life to have new meaning.  And if you decide that you’d rather re-read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone for the fifth time–you can always just watch the movie. -Krystal



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