Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
Greg Gaines hates high school. He has mediocre grades, and a disinterest in hanging out with one group at a time. He prefers to drift on the periphery – right up until the point when his mother tells him he has to re-befriend an ‘old flame’ from his past. It seems to Greg that after this point, his life becomes more complicated than he ever imagined.
I didn’t even realise Earl was black. Call me stupid, but I didn’t even look at the front cover before I started this novel. And then it doesn’t bother me that people would be a different race to me, so I guess I didn’t pick it up for ages.
Greg is constantly self-depreciating, and it’s easy to tell why he doesn’t become friends with people. We really don’t understand why he is even writing the novel if he hates it so much to the end. In fact, I’m not sure I understood any of his motives – ever. I just couldn’t care!
Rachel had some potential there, but as Greg says, it was never really about Rachel when it should have been. Greg manages to be a selfish bastard the whole way. The reader doesn’t even feel like that until it’s pointed out by Greg’s acquaintances. That’s the danger of having an unreliable first person narrator I suppose.
There were some humorous points in this novel, and maybe that’s what made it a good film? Honestly, I have no idea. I don’t generally read novels to laugh, and I expect a rock-solid storyline – not what seemed to me a slap-dash novel of ‘let’s pick things that can be made funny, when they really aren’t’.
I had trouble picking this novel off the shelf to read, after my partner told me that it probably wouldn’t be my style. Lo and behold, it wasn’t really my style. For a major motion picture, I just couldn’t love it. I dawdled between giving it two or three stars, and I’ve decided to settle on two. Just because everyone else seems to love it doesn’t mean that I have to bow to that! I’d go for Jesse Andrews other offering, The Haters.
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