Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl: Book Review

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Warning: this book is going to make you cry, at least once.

 

You’ve heard of The Fault in Our Stars, where two young kids who have cancer fall in love but can’t be together because fate is fickle and one of them dies. It’s an adventure from beginning to end with a lot of talk about metaphors. Me, Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews is not that kind of cancer story.

The main character Greg is one who’s quite relatable; a high schooler who doesn’t know what to do with his life after impending graduation, and is just skating through until it’s all over. He’s one of those awkward kids that you know of, but don’t really know, and that’s how he likes to keep it. But things go awry when a girl, Rachel, gets leukemia and his mom wants him to hang out with her.

Usually this would be when the romance starts to bloom and they get to know each other and it’s the kind of love that only comes once every thousand years, or something like that. But right from the start you’re told that this isn’t a love story. This is a story about cancer. This is what makes this story so heartbreaking.

A lot of books are walking cliches and have very predictable endings, but this book has a lot of twists, turns, and topics not typically talked about. Moose-stepping-on-innocent-mice high school crushes, student films based off of underground foreign films, and very strange food to name a few. The diverse writing style makes this a must read book for those looking for something different than the normal typical books today. It’s consistent with first person, but it changes from regular book format to a script style to bullet points. This really accentuates the beat of the story, sometimes even bringing it up when there could possibly be a slow moment.

I would rate this as a 4 out of 5 stars because of the ending. The author prepares you from the start that this story is about a girl dying of cancer. So the whole book you’re expecting it to happen and be somewhat dramatic, but it’s a little anti-climactic when it actually does happen. The ending is sweet and simple, but I feel that is doesn’t do the book justice. Overall, it’s an adventure of a normal kid who’s just trying to figure out his life while going through a not so normal situation.

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