Rose's Reviews > Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
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Feb 09, 2012

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bookshelves: quarterly-challenge-5-2012, young-adult, tough-subjects, tbr-challenge, realistic-fiction, humor, contemporary, arc-or-galley, netgalley
Read from May 01 to 07, 2012

I think I love Jesse Andrews a little more after finishing this book. It's been a while since I've read a book that made me laugh, cringe, and maybe a little sad at the same time. Yet the experience of reading "Me and Earl and the Dying Girl" was a rather new one for me. Why? Because it manages to almost break every rule of writing a novel that you could possibly think of. Even Andrews warns (in his foreword and via his protagonist Greg Gaines) that this book isn't very good. That the reader might want to kill him for it. Even when the epilogue says that he was "glad" to be finished with the thing.

Given all the reminders, the fourth-wall breaking, info-dumping, the times that vulgar language was used, the switching in dialogue styles and representations, among other things - I probably should've disliked this book. No, not dislike, more like raged and come out with arms swinging. Maybe take a page of the playbook from Earl and do some head kicks of my own.

Yet Greg, Earl and Rachel managed to grab a part of me that made me like and want to remember them, even in the small parts. The story primarily showcases Greg, a high school kid who likes making films, is a bit on the chubby side, and is somewhat of a social misfit who doesn't have luck with girls. He proceeds to tell us so in so many measures. All of that seems to come to a head when one of the girls he used to know in Jewish school, Rachel, is diagnosed with leukemia. Feeling gutted to a degree, Greg starts hanging out with Rachel again, and establishes a connection with his film making co-hort Earl. The humor in this book is point-blank, and there were many times when I laughed while holding my sides, and other times when I snorted at some of the quirks. It's all rather hit and miss though, much like the book in its overall construction. You're either going to love it or its going to be a complete miss. It's different from many books that I've read with the subject revolving around losing someone to illness, but I would think to say this book isn't just about Rachel, but Greg coming to terms with himself in some ways. There aren't any revelation messages for this book to have, but it was simply a read that I think people will enjoy if they take it as is. I would recommend this book for more mature young adults on the note of the language and content, but all in all, I enjoyed reading this. I would certainly look into more work from Andrews in the future.

And if he asks, I definitely don't want to throw the book at him after finishing this novel. I kinda wanna hug him (for making Earl awesome, for making Greg a cool guy even if he doesn't think of himself as one, and for showing Rachel's story.)

Overall score: 3/5

Note: I received this as an ARC from NetGalley, from the publisher ABRAMS.
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Quotes Rose Liked

Jesse Andrews
“If after reading this book you come to my home and brutally murder me, I do not blame you.”
Jesse Andrews, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl


Reading Progress

05/03/2012
1.0% "This is a book I've looked forward to reading for a while, so I'm going to see how it turns out. Should be a quick read, but depends on how I pace myself."
05/03/2012 page 3
1.0% "I think I love the author for the opening note he wrote. That makes me willing to see what the rest of the book has to offer, even when he says what it "isn't" in a funny way."
05/03/2012 page 21
7.0% "Haha! Aww Greg. I'm finding his character endearing so far."
05/04/2012 page 68
23.0% "I'm surprisingly intrigued by this. I'm getting to know Greg, Earl and Rachel all rather well and sympathize with their lives in general. Sometimes it's funny and other times it's awkward, but I appreciate what the author's doing with their characters. It's quite good so far, and I'm eagerly continuing."
05/06/2012 page 80
27.0% "Still reading. I was sidetracked a bit on my reading list because I wanted to go through a few audiobooks that I had temporarily, but now I'm back to this read. Hopefully I can finish it between tonight and tomorrow."
05/06/2012 page 96
32.0% "I'm enjoying this conversation about Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig far more than I should. LOL"
05/06/2012 page 129
44.0% "42 films made between Earl and Greg is actually rather productive and impressive. I liked the mini-movie reviews here as well."
05/06/2012 page 206
70.0% "I like the nod to David Lynch here, it just seems funny in context with his and Earl's films."
05/06/2012 page 206
70.0% "By that I mean Greg and Earl's films."
05/06/2012 page 210
71.0% "I think I've learned something from this book. If anyone uses that "try-sexual" pick up line on me, I'll know ahead of time to give them a good slap on the back of the head."
05/06/2012 page 250
84.0% "Earl's really laying into Greg with this conversation/argument. I don't know whether to hug Greg or give a high five to Earl with how blunt he's being. Earl's speaking truth, though, I have to give him that."
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