Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
by Jesse Andrews
I didn't really have any desire to read this book until I saw a bunch of booktubers gushing about it, saying it was awesome and they loved it. Well, I didn't love it. It really didn't live up to the hype for me at all.Summary: 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.
It wasn't a bad book, far from it. I read it pretty quickly and while I didn't like it, I didn't hate it either...it was just kind of - average.
I will give it credit for managing to talk about cancer without ever becoming one of those Cancer Books (you know the ones--the ones that get very Lifetime movie). But, I think that may have been part of my issue? I mean...I liked that it didn't go there, but it did that by making me really not like or care about any of the characters and by trying way too hard to be funny. Some books go OTT and try to make you care too much, this one went too far in the other direction.
Seriously, I didn't like the main character at all. He was whiny and annoying and self-absorbed and just...I didn't like him. I can see how some people might end up liking him or his sense of humour, but I just didn't. There was so much of the book that felt like it was supposed to be funny but it didn't even manage to make me crack a smile--maybe if I'd clicked with the humour in the book I would've liked it more (I think I only sort of laughed once).
Anyway, because we see the world through his eyes, it's hard to give a damn about any of the other characters either. Told differently, I think maybe Earl and Rachel would've been pretty good characters and their friendship was more interesting to me than the one either had with the main character but we barely get to see that (I'd probably have loved the book that was simply "Earl and the Dying Girl").
The writing style was distinctive, but I didn't really enjoy it much. And the plot...well, it was really dull, it didn't feel like much was going on and even the ending felt very flat. Like, "That's it?" and I get it, I get that it was probably intentional, to avoid the sappy Lifetime movie cancer story trap, but at the same time it just made it seem like a story not worth telling, a book not worth reading.
I'll probably have forgotten I even read this within a few days and will only remember it when the movie adaptation is released. It just tried too hard (to be funny, to be different, to avoid cancer book tropes, etc.).
So...yeah. I'd rate it 2.5 stars out of 5. It was just an okay read to me. But, don't let that put you off, because like I said, the reason I read it was because so many other people said how great it was, so you might enjoy it as much as they did.