"I don't know how to live a normal human life."
Greg Gains has high school all figured out. The school is comprised of various cliques, and a student's social status within the school is determined by which clique they are in. As anyone who has gone through high school can imagine, finding your place within that enigmatic social structure can be quite the challenge. Greg has a simple solution. Rather than exhausting himself with the search for the perfect clan, Greg doesn't belong to any of them. By keeping a low profile, he avoids any of the complications that come with a social life.
With all that in mind, you may wonder how Greg manages this life of self-imposed solitude. The truth is that he isn't actually the loner that he seems to be. Greg has only one real friend, Earl. The two boys bonded over a love for classic films and spend their spare time crafting movies of their own. With a dysfunctional family to deal with at home, Earl has little time or interest in finding other friends. This makes him an optimal companion for the introverted Greg.
Greg seems destined to escape high school unscathed, but the titular dying girl comes along and changes everything. Rachel and Greg had the kind of awkward young love that was doomed from the start. He only ended up dating her because he was too peculiar to score the girl he truly desired. That was a while ago. His master plan of not belonging to any group meant limited interaction with people other than Earl. . . especially an ex girlfriend. Now that his mom has dropped the bombshell that Rachel has cancer, Greg feels obligated to reconnect and somehow cheer her up. There's only one problem. Befriending the campus's resident dying girl threatens the anonymity that Greg has desperately tried to achieve.
In Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, author Jesse Andrews defies the conventions of the teen romance genre with satirical wit and emotional heft. Any expectations that I had as I began the novel were immediately negated. Greg narrates the story with the kind of self deprecating humor that is both amusing and genuine. The story itself is not uncommon. It is the way that Andrews plays with our preconceptions of the story that makes the novel so compelling. While other books like The Fault in Our Stars use a cancer story to maximize dramatic and sentimental effect, this novel takes a more nuanced and realistic approach. In a genre that usually tries to inject some kind of deeper meaning into the narrative, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl dares to take situations at face value. By embracing the mundane nature of everyday life, the book is ultimately elevated to a remarkable commentary on death.
For more information, visit the author's website, Amazon, and Goodreads.
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
This entry was posted on Sunday, June 5, 2016 and is filed under Cancer,High School,Jesse Andrews,Me and Earl and the Dying Girl,Young Adult. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response.
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