Title: Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl
Author: Jesse Andrews
Publisher: Amulet Books
Publication Date: 2012
Synopsis from Goodreads:
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.
This is easily one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. Normally I can’t read a book after I’ve seen the movie. I’m a solid book first kind of girl. But in this case, the book was an absolute delight to read even though I already knew the plot. It reminded me of all the things I love about this story. Greg Gaines is a self-deprecating, comedic teenage boy who befriends Rachel, a girl in his grade who has recently been diagnosed with Leukemia. Their friendship, along with Greg’s friendship with his film-making buddy (his “colleague”) Earl, is unconventional. They get to know each other extraordinary circumstances. Greg’s lack of confidence and his self-absorption leads him to believe he is a terrible friend, but in fact, in being his weird self, he’s been the best friend he could have been. This is a story about self-discovery. These friends face a terrible struggle during the tumultuous teen years. During a time when one is trying to understand oneself, they are faced with choices of life or death. In their friendship, they find support in understanding in each other.
This book is full of the witty sarcasm of Greg Gaines, narrator. The people in his life are the most ridiculous characters is a way that will have you bent over with side-splitting laughter. What’s great about the humour in this book is that none of the characters are trying to mask their weirdness or pretending to be anything other than what they are. They’re amazingly hilarious in their strange fascinations, their weird interests, and their creative genius. In their humour they are incredibly real and truthful, and they come to understand themselves and each other on a deeper level.
I loved this book (if you can’t already tell). If you haven’t read it, you should!