Thursday, February 5, 2015

'Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl' by Jesse Andrews


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.
Let me tell you this upfront.
I did NOT like this book.
But I'm not trying to offend the author. 

It was a bit funny... I'll say that. If there were cameras shadowing me, they would catch my laughing. This was a pretty funny book. But it was mostly awkward jokes. Not a lot of people might call it funny. I laugh it's not hard to make me laugh. (But it's hard to make me stop.) 
The book made some nice jokes. Greg tried his best to cheer Rachel up with awkward jokes along the lines of pulling up his shirt and making his tummy rolls/fat rolls talk or making an on-going joke about alien barf. If you like these jokes, then you'll laugh. But while they were funny, they were also immature. I felt a bit childish when I laughed at the book. These weren't jokes that seemed sophisticated. 
The thing is...the jokes suited the awkward Greg. I think that's the more important thing. The author didn't just slap in jokes. He tried to make them sound from the narrator. 

The characters were hard to take seriously. 
I couldn't take Greg seriously. As a narrator, he has to be one of the worst I've read. He didn't take things seriously. He was a bit childish. He didn't seem to have lots of emotions. He tried his best to stay on the outer edge. He never made true friends. (Earl makes great points about Greg.) I didn't like him. Greg didn't take his life seriously until the end. He didn't take the world seriously. He slid by with average grades and an average attitude. People like him don't try. They don't try until they have to. But I'm happy he started to take his life seriously. He changed and started to rein in control. 
And Earl... I know that teenagers curse and all, but Earl is too much. I can handle cursing. (I've learned to.) He kept cursing. And while I know of anger issues, Earl was something else. You'll be surprised when you see Earl caring, in his own way, for Rachel. But Earl... He's one of those characters who can be better. If he only applied himself to school. If he only tried harder. He would have been an A student, a bit busier, and maybe less mediocre. 
Rachel...gosh. I don't want to say anything bad. She isn't the worst. But she isn't developed enough. (As seen in Rachel the Film.) There isn't much to say about her... 

There didn't seem to be a plot. Really. 
What was going on? Jokes. Greg being idiotic. Anything else? Not really. There didn't seem to be a set plot. It was a lot of ramblings. I understand that there was something underneath, but I didn't see it. There were small peaks at the plot, but it was hard to follow. This book was mostly jokes.
I would have preferred if it had more on Rachel. Maybe if Greg learned about her more. (Though, him not knowing much is important to the story.) If there was something more than teenage antics, I would have liked it better. If I needed teenage antics, I could have gone to a high school. 

The ending wasn't the best. It wasn't happy. Or sad. It just was...flat. I didn't enjoy the ending. Nor did I hate it. I didn't have questions. (That might be because the story didn't raise questions.) I felt mildly done with the book when I reached the Fin. I felt like the ending could have been better if the plot was better. I guess this can be linked to the plot. I'm not entirely sure. 

The book tried to deal with a serious topic, but it just made me laugh. I felt like the theme wasn't there. We were talking about cancer. I thought it would be a different type of cancer story.
But it wasn't. 
This book danced around cancer. It wasn't in-depth. It wasn't detailed. We didn't get Rachel's point-of-view. We didn't get anything about her struggle. Greg was an outsider to her mind. He didn't understand her. 
It was a comedy book. A light-hearted book. A joke book. Essentially, you can tell, I didn't like that. As much as I needed this light-hearted book, I didn't enjoy it. I prefer more tough and solemn books. 
This book promised a cancer story. But Greg wasn't close enough to Rachel to get a cancer story. I thought that it would be better. 
(To be honest, 'The Fault In Our Stars' is to put it...better cancer book. We get more of the emotional pain. But the uplifting romance as well.) 

I couldn't stand the way the book was written. Not in the words.
But in the script. In the format. There was movie script-style parts. 
Let me say this first. I don't like to read stories in other formats. I prefer the chapter-paragraph format. I don't like straying.
So there is a reason the book's format annoyed me. We had script-style. Chapter-paragraph. We even had bulleted lists. (What...) I can't stand it. It was a nuisance to read. I could read it. I just didn't like it. I didn't want to read it in that format. 

Cloudy with a 10% chance of rain

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