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 leukaemia—-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.
Greg is a bit of a loner in way. He speaks to everyone in school but doesn’t actually have a friendship group himself.
Then one day his mom comes to him with news; the girl he went to Hebrew school with, Rachel, has Leukaemia and Greg has to go and be friends with her again as he will make her laugh.
So Greg goes along to see Rachel and at first nothing seems to happen. They aren’t really friends so how is this going to work? He does however make her laugh.
Then you meet Earl, Greg’s short black friend who is literally has a vocabulary of swear words and grossed out things. But they make movies together. Movies that no one else has ever seen: until Earl gives them to Rachel one day.
Now everyone knows about the movies and Greg and Earl are forced into making a movie for Rachel… Which really really doesn’t go well. But Rachel does like the video…. Even if the kids at school don’t.
I can’t really give much away of the plot otherwise I’ll end up saying everything about the book.
This is different from The Fault in Our Stars. Yeah okay the girl in it is dying but there is nothing else that is similar.
Greg does not love Rachel and Rachel really doesn’t love Greg. There is nothing between them except for a small friendship and the ability if Greg making her laugh.
What I liked about it was that it was different to the other Cancer related stories about there. Yes TFIOS made you cry literally from start to finish (well it did with me. Same with the movie too) but this book didn’t make me cry.
For starters Greg is a pretty crap friend. Yeah he gets forced into the friendship by his mother and he really doesn’t know how to act. He is socially awkward and can literally only make people laugh by being a complete weirdo. But in a way he’s brilliant too. He makes this dying girls last few months pretty much filled with laugher. There is no romance, he sucks at getting girls anyway and the way he is with situations is pretty hilarious.
Then there is Earl. The foul mouthed friend of Greg’s who really made me laugh. Every word that came out of his mouth had to have a swear word in it. He makes these crappy movies with Greg, watches foreign films with him, has been through a drug habit, lives with his brothers and half-brothers who constantly beat each other up and he smokes. Just a normal day in the life of a 17-year-old! Oh and his 13-year-old brother has got a girl pregnant!
Then there’s Rachel. The dying girl who has this weird friendship with Greg and Earl and makes them both promise to go to film school when she’s gone. There is nothing profound about her. Some books make the dying people say profound and heart-warming things but not Rachel. She’s just this normal, or in Greg’s words ‘boring’ girl who’s dying. It’s just so straight forward.
I love TFIOS and it will always be my favourite and the lines in it are beautiful and they are beautiful and it makes you cry because of the love they have for each other and…. Okay stopping now before I blub like a baby!
But Me and Earl and the Dying Girl had nothing like that and I think that’s what made it so refreshing. It didn’t make you cry. Greg wrote the book and half the time even he told you to stop reading it because it was a boring story with nothing in it. But I really liked it. It was new, it was simple, and it was ordinary. It was how things happen in real life. It was honest. Greg himself even said he was a shit friend. Everything about the book was honest and so weird and odd but oddly brilliant.
I like the epilogue too and you get to see why Greg ended up writing this book.
Give this book a try. I’d love to know what you think of it. (I wanna see the movie too!)
5 out of 5 stars