Thursday, September 29, 2016

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

In a different author’s hands, this story would be something else entirely. It would be tearful from beginning to end and every character would learn deep, meaningful lessons. But, as Greg Gaines says, this book is not about that. Greg did not learn anything from being friends with Rachel. All it did was lead to the Worst Film Ever Made, and utter humiliation.

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is what you get when an author realizes it is not realistic to have every cancer story in the universe end in personal fulfillment. In a sea of tear-ridden yet heartwarming cancer stories, this book provides a much needed change of pace. The book is also very funny, which is something not often found in cancer stories.

Greg’s mother forces him to befriend Rachel, a girl who was just diagnosed with leukemia…and with who Greg has an awkward history. Like I said before, Greg learns nothing from this forced friendship. At least, he learns nothing besides emotional denial and self-loathing and an uncanny ability to laugh himself out of uncomfortable situations.

In watching Greg not learn anything, however, the reader discovers a lot about how people respond to personal hardships outside of the metaphor-filled teen fiction world.

If you do not like laughing in the midst of difficult times and extreme cynicism, this is not the book for you. But truly, this book is necessary for finding a more realistic perspective. Sometimes people do not have personal triumphs when they encounter pain.

For laughs and something completely different from every cancer book trying to follow in the footsteps of The Fault in Our Stars, pick up this book now. I like The Fault in Our Stars a lot, but this book—Me and Earl and the Dying Girl—is something far better.

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is available in print and digital formats.

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