BOOK REVIEWS

ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL

Jesse Andrews

Jesse Andrew’s debut novel, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, is the dream debut any author in their sane mind could possibly want. The protagonist Greg is a socially awkward senior, who wants nothing more than to pass his final year unscarred by the ‘traumatic experience’ that is high school. The only thing he loves more than avoiding interaction with fellow human beings is making movies with his only friend, Earl, whom he refers to as his co-worker. Greg is forced by his mother to spend time with an old childhood friend, Rachel, when she is diagnosed with a terminal illness. Unlike multiple books and movies based on terminal illness, this book doesn’t glamorise sickness nor does it make the one going through it look like a saint.

Greg is an anti-hero, flawed in every way possible, so much so that it becomes easy to relate to him and eventually one cannot help but end up liking this quirky teen with a sense of humour I wish I possessed. I loved the character development. The book starts with Greg’s indifference to Rachel’s situation and reluctance to spend time with her, and ends with him trying to do every possible thing- even showing her the movies made by Earl and him- to make the world suck a little less for her. A very big step for someone who in the beginning barely cared about anything or anyone apart from his own self. The writing style uses a heavy dose of parenthesis, a fresh break from the usual writing style of novelists.

When I started the book, I went in expecting a sad melodrama about a dying girl but what I got was a story about a boy with a self-depreciating sense of humour, who is perfect in no way, trying to cope up with what it is like to lose a friend, and at the same time figure out where he is heading in life. The reader may be prepared for the sadness and heartbreak that comes with reading this book, but in no way would they be prepared for the conspicuous amount of humour. In an initial chapter Greg says, “This book contains precisely zero important life lessons.” He could not have been more wrong.

Vitasta Singh

Student-Reporter

December-2016