Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

noellesimonson's review

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This is the book you read when you want an honest, brutal, overly realistic narration of someone you know dying from cancer.

Greg is not the narrator I was expecting when I started reading this, but I realized that he was the narrator I needed. Greg showed compassion very rarely throughout this story, and only when he needed to for his own advantage. Rachel, the dying girl, is thrown into his life when he least expects and definitely when he wants it least. He shows very little remorse to her situation, making jokes to make her laugh, but to also make him feel better about himself just by being her friend.

It sounds like I didn't like Greg, but I honestly loved him. He was so different from the emotional, expressive Hazel Grace Lancaster from TFIOS that it was a breath a fresh air I desperately needed.

If you read this, prepare to be angry at Greg during the majority of the book, but also be prepared to understand that he never wanted to be friends with Rachel, that he is selfish and only concerned about his well-being and that is simply who he is. And he doesn't change, even after she dies. He may be somewhat more compassionate towards Earl and towards the "friends" in his life from that moment forward, but it won't be very obvious. Greg is Greg. That is what makes him the perfect narrator and that is what makes this book so devastatingly hilarious.

8.5/10 would recommend.

brett's review against another edition

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opticflow's review

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Wise Earl and the outrageous swears were my favorite parts. Greg's constant self doubt was believable, but annoying. The guys would have put those films on YouTube for sure. Hollywood: please do not ruin this smart book with a shoddy movie.

pastryghost's review

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This book was different than I expected. Still uproariously funny, and I enjoyed myself throughout, but the ending surprised me.
More than halfway through the novel, I had a strange thought that maybe Earl was the main character after all. I think this could be possible... It was strange to me when, two hundred pages in, I realized how hazily Rachel was characterized. I almost gave the book fewer stars because of this, but the novel gives Greg a wonderful epiphany that this is exactly what he had been doing.
After all, Rachel is the "dying girl," she isn't "Rachel."

I finished the book in less than a day; it's really easy get caught by the writing and Greg's ridiculousness. Still, there's a case of unreliable narrator. I wanted to read this because the movie trailer looks amazing, and wow now I'm really curious to see how they do this complex, funny, sad book justice. (Or in Greg's words: "God only knows what would happen if you tried to convert this unstoppable barf-fest into a film.")

rey397's review

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dark emotional funny sad fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character


wrenlee's review

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Amazon / 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.
Let me tell you this upfront.
I did NOT like this book.
But I'm not trying to offend the author.

It was a bit funny... I'll say that. If there were cameras shadowing me, they would catch my laughing. This was a pretty funny book. But it was mostly awkward jokes. Not a lot of people might call it funny. I laugh it's not hard to make me laugh. (But it's hard to make me stop.)
The book made some nice jokes. Greg tried his best to cheer Rachel up with awkward jokes along the lines of pulling up his shirt and making his tummy rolls/fat rolls talk or making an on-going joke about alien barf. If you like these jokes, then you'll laugh. But while they were funny, they were also immature. I felt a bit childish when I laughed at the book. These weren't jokes that seemed sophisticated.
The thing is...the jokes suited the awkward Greg. I think that's the more important thing. The author didn't just slap in jokes. He tried to make them sound from the narrator.

The characters were hard to take seriously.
I couldn't take Greg seriously. As a narrator, he has to be one of the worst I've read. He didn't take things seriously. He was a bit childish. He didn't seem to have lots of emotions. He tried his best to stay on the outer edge. He never made true friends. (Earl makes great points about Greg.) I didn't like him. Greg didn't take his life seriously until the end. He didn't take the world seriously. He slid by with average grades and an average attitude. People like him don't try. They don't try until they have to. But I'm happy he started to take his life seriously. He changed and started to rein in control.
And Earl... I know that teenagers curse and all, but Earl is too much. I can handle cursing. (I've learned to.) He kept cursing. And while I know of anger issues, Earl was something else. You'll be surprised when you see Earl caring, in his own way, for Rachel. But Earl... He's one of those characters who can be better. If he only applied himself to school. If he only tried harder. He would have been an A student, a bit busier, and maybe less mediocre.
Rachel...gosh. I don't want to say anything bad. She isn't the worst. But she isn't developed enough. (As seen in Rachel the Film.) There isn't much to say about her...

There didn't seem to be a plot. Really.
What was going on? Jokes. Greg being idiotic. Anything else? Not really. There didn't seem to be a set plot. It was a lot of ramblings. I understand that there was something underneath, but I didn't see it. There were small peaks at the plot, but it was hard to follow. This book was mostly jokes.
I would have preferred if it had more on Rachel. Maybe if Greg learned about her more. (Though, him not knowing much is important to the story.) If there was something more than teenage antics, I would have liked it better. If I needed teenage antics, I could have gone to a high school.

The ending wasn't the best. It wasn't happy. Or sad. It just was...flat. I didn't enjoy the ending. Nor did I hate it. I didn't have questions. (That might be because the story didn't raise questions.) I felt mildly done with the book when I reached the Fin. I felt like the ending could have been better if the plot was better. I guess this can be linked to the plot. I'm not entirely sure.

The book tried to deal with a serious topic, but it just made me laugh. I felt like the theme wasn't there. We were talking about cancer. I thought it would be a different type of cancer story.
But it wasn't.
This book danced around cancer. It wasn't in-depth. It wasn't detailed. We didn't get Rachel's point-of-view. We didn't get anything about her struggle. Greg was an outsider to her mind. He didn't understand her.
It was a comedy book. A light-hearted book. A joke book. Essentially, you can tell, I didn't like that. As much as I needed this light-hearted book, I didn't enjoy it. I prefer more tough and solemn books.
This book promised a cancer story. But Greg wasn't close enough to Rachel to get a cancer story. I thought that it would be better.
(To be honest, 'The Fault In Our Stars' is to put it...better cancer book. We get more of the emotional pain. But the uplifting romance as well.)

I couldn't stand the way the book was written. Not in the words.
But in the script. In the format. There was movie script-style parts.
Let me say this first. I don't like to read stories in other formats. I prefer the chapter-paragraph format. I don't like straying.
So there is a reason the book's format annoyed me. We had script-style. Chapter-paragraph. We even had bulleted lists. (What...) I can't stand it. It was a nuisance to read. I could read it. I just didn't like it. I didn't want to read it in that format.

Cloudy with a 10% chance of rain

carolynaugustyn's review against another edition

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Eek, ok so I think I liked the movie version of this better than the book. Maybe because I saw the movie first but I also thought the structure works better as a visual piece. I liked the story, I like the characters, I like that this wasn't your typical YA "girl gets cancer, boy saves her, she saves him, fall in love, happy ending" story. The characters are all flawed and real and sometimes really crappy people. That was wonderful. However, I found Greg (the main character) to be annoying and the way he was constantly putting himself/the book down made me almost want to stop reading. Reading "why are you still reading this, omg it's garbage, I'm a bad writer" over and over kind of made me think "Maybe I should stop reading this...", which I assume is not what the author intended. This is a cute read but it didn't change my life and I got tired to the constant put downs. I can see why so many people enjoy this but it just wasn't for me.

macymcbeth's review against another edition

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This book is in the style of a journal, narrated by high school senior Greg Gaines, and it told after the events have happened.

Greg annoyed me. His narrating was annoying. He kept disrupting the story to tear his writing down and say how bad of a writer he is. And I get that it factors into his Excessive Modesty Mode, but it was annoying to read. Mostly he talked about himself and his senior year, which is fine. But the Dying Girl maybe took up a third of the book, maybe that much.

As I was reading, I was waiting for plot development or for something exciting to happen, but it was a majority of backstory and narrating the high and low points of his senior year.

I had high expectations for this book and it wasn't really what I was expecting. It had the right idea, but the execution was lacking.

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poorashleu's review against another edition

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Originally posted here

I have wanted to read this book…forever and for no reason but other books came around have I not read it.What made this book work for me was the audio book narration. This book had seven narrators, and they all worked. They all kept me invested in this story, particularly when I was loathing Greg. Because here’s the thing, while we talk about female’s being unlikable characters…all the time, we rarely discuss unlikable male characters. Greg is oh so unlikable.

The audiobook brought out how awkward people are. People who are dying. People who don’t know what to say. People who are short. People who want to be left alone. I enjoyed the awkwardness, it was realistic and made me feel part of the story. What was also enjoyable was the fact that this was not another cancer/issue book. Yeah, Rachel has cancer. Yeah, that sucks. But this book is about Greg.

What I also found interesting was Earl and his friendship with Greg. It is very clear that these two are very much opposites who work as friends. Even though Greg would deny having any friends, Earl is his friend. There is no one way to have a friendship and although Greg sees Earl as a movie making co-worker (something they bonded over and both love) Greg and Earl are very much friends, who are still trying to figure out being teenage boys. Greg is also very much friends with Rachel, the dying girl, who Greg doesn’t feel comfortable around and yet is actually friends with. Greg enjoys being invisible. The fact that he might not be invisible actually scares him.

While I enjoyed that this book had potential, it unfortunately did not work for me. I can picture a handful of friends who are not surprised by this fact either. I don’t regret trying this book out. I just wish I would have enjoyed it more.

shnnnfly's review against another edition

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I really hope that the movie coming out is Greg's movie!!