Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, by Jesse Andrews, is an unintentionally emotional novel, filled with a harsh realism that is rarely seen in these types of stories. The story follows Greg Gaines, a seventeen year old guy, who writes this book from his perspective. During his senior year of high school, he is forced to become friends with Rachel Kushner, a girl who has leukaemia. As we witness this take place, Earl, Greg’s sort-of friend, gets tossed into the mix. These characters form a diverse cast for a story that may seem utterly dull and depressing. Instead, Greg and company make it quirky and odd, and instantly memorable. Greg is very critical of himself, but he loves to make people laugh with his jokes. Earl comes from a low-income family and has seen the tougher side of the world, making him a more aggressive person. Finally, Rachel is simply giving up on life and has already accepted the fact that she will die. Does she? Well, you’ll have to find out.
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl truly feels like it was written by Greg. The writing style is superb and takes a twist on how books are normally written. It feels like he is truly talking to you, and makes you like him as a character. Additionally, the messages of the story all feel unintended. Greg often discourages the reader from thinking of the book as sad or emotional but, at the end, you can’t help but find it to be these things. That’s what makes it so memorable. The main character is disagreeing with what the book is truly saying, and that’s what makes it feel so real.
I would truly recommend this book for any avid teen reader. Be warned, it contains some heavy language, so if you’re younger, you may not like some of the things they say. However, this helps the book by not holding back. The author isn’t afraid to hold back anything, and therefore, the novel feels true and personal.
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl carries itself strongly, with fresh takes on the teen novel, messages and writing styles. Although you may think this is just another sappy book, it really isn’t. This is a great read, and there is also a great movie based on it!