Thursday, May 21, 2015

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews.

Title- Me and Earl and the Dying Girl.
Author- Jesse Andrews.
Publish date- 2012.
Publisher- Allen and Unwin.

Review time...

(A Brief) Synopsis:
I don’t know if I can actually describe this. Just go with the title.

What I thought:
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl was a little bit of a whim read. I remember it’s publication, though not how it was received, and it passed me, leaving no mark, except a brief appreciation for (you guessed it) the cover.

And then a couple of weeks ago I saw the film trailer. And it looked pretty darn good. So I instantly ordered the book from the library. And read it in two days.
And the surprising thing? I have… relatively little to say about it. The whole experience. It was, fairly well, what it promises to be via the introduction by the protagonist, Greg. I mean, I didn’t think it was rubbish. But it didn’t really prove anything to me, tell me anything I didn’t know, nor was it filled with gorgeously life affirming quotes.
I read it and that’s… it.

The story is basically that of Greg, who once was accidental friends with Rachel, who gets cancer a few years after that; his mother makes him go and see her, to try and lift her spirits, and from there the story goes on. Greg wasn’t all that likable a character, he was selfish and couldn’t see how others were injured by his attitude, and I feel really angry that he kept on going to see Rachel when all he did before, after and during was go on and on about how he didn’t like her- it made him feel so fake. Rachel obviously liked his visits, but it was so disgenuine and the whole of his character felt really lifeless. He didn’t care a great deal about things. His high school goal was to be unattached so no one would dislike him, and I just… didn’t get him, I suppose. I don’t think I really got him, his understanding of himself, at all, while at the same time I felt like I understood how he felt when he discounted it. Like it didn’t even hit him how much he did care, and he kept saying he didn’t, and it felt, eventually, like such a cover.
It was kind of a weird read for me. I think I could describe Greg as being selfish but unaware of himself. Earl was… far too violent and graphic for me, but in the end, though I disliked both, he was the character who at least knew what was going on, what things meant.

And an especially interesting thing was that, in this story, it felt like Rachel was a really small part, which I didn’t expect. It was Greg, school, films, Earl, Rachel; her role and her consequent title of “dying girl” felt so… odd. I mean, is the whole thing that we basically discount her, because she’s unimportant, not as important, or we don’t understand her importance?

Rating: This is the worst possible time for an explosion.
Really, I am a jumble of odd thoughts when it comes to this novel. I didn’t like it, really at all, but I felt like I understood bits of it more than Greg did, and he’s supposed to have lived and written the whole thing.
I’m hoping the movie’ll live up to my anticipation though, still.


  1. Oh, NO. To be honest, I don't remember much of what people said about this book because I think it was released around the same time as SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY (which is another YA cancer book), and I only remember what people said about that one (which was the MC was unlikeable, not UNlike what you have said here about Greg).

    I *think* this book is on my TBR, but after reading this review, I am pretty sure I am going to be taking it off. I don't like reading books about douchebags, and it seems like Greg is the king of them. And I'm also a bit wary of "the dying girl" part, as you pointed out. So that's all she is? That's all kinds of mean, and terrible.

    I wonder how the movie will adapt the story. I'll have to check out the trailer!

    Thanks for the review, lovely <3

    1. Oh, okay. I don't think I've actually heard of that one... from what you say, they seem to share unlikable protagonists, which is frustrating in itself.

      Greg is definitely not a character I liked being around. He was just really empty and there was never a sufficient reason given for his behaviour- he just didn't really care? And that is, really what Rachel ends up being, to him at least, and he ASSERTS it. She didn't change him. She was just a girl who he knew who died. It was pretty shocking.

  2. Aww, it's too bad this was such a disappointment, even though the trailer lured you in! I hope the movie will be better then - at least make the main character more likable. I don't think this is a book I would feel inclined to read in the first place, but your review makes me think that is a good thing then. :)

    1. So do I, though I did rewatch it after reading the book and it looked less stunning than I had remembered. I could pick out scenes from the book and I wasn't overly impressed. Still, I'll watch some of the different trailers, as it comes closer to release, and watch it if I think it has the potential to be better for me than this was.
      Oh, and I love your new theme, Charlene! xx

  3. Ehhh. That's the only thing I said after reading your review. Is it me or do I feel like this book has little to no direction at all? What's the use of the dying girl if her role is very minimal? Is she the catalyst to a huge character development? Does the character development even happen? From your review, it feels like everything about this book was pretty shallow :/

    Faye at The Social Potato

    1. Disappointing, huh? I'd have to agree with that. I thought I knew where it was going, during, which was towards Rachel's worsening condition, but in hindsight? Nup. That wasn't it and that wasn't enough.
      No! She doesn't make him chance his character, thoughts, actions. Nothing. He doesn't really change at all. I couldn't even say he went through any character development. Definitely would agree that he's a shallow one.

  4. Aww...I'm sorry you felt a bit mediocre about this one Romi, but I can completely see where you're coming from. It always makes me a bit skeptical when the title has nothing or little to do with the plot itself; but sadly it sounds like that's how it is here. It's a shame, because it sounds like it had a ton of potential. :( Thanks for sharing your thoughts though! ♥

    ~ Zoe @ Stories on Stage

    1. Thanks for your comment, Zoe! The title does make sense with the story, as it paints this picture of the three "main" characters, but Greg is so self focused and the fact Rachel is just painted out as being a dying girl, someone of so little importance that her name isn't even included? I find that incredibly irritating.

  5. Yes, the movie is coming out soon and it seems like something I am going to want to watch which is why I have come to check out your review. But to be honest this sounds like an incredibly ordinary book - like there was nothing too amazing about it, but it's still readable I guess. I get the feeling that I might end up having the same opinion in time...

    1. I'll have to see if you review it on your blog, because that could give me a good perspective on whether I'd have enjoyed it or not. From the review I've read, it sounds like not. xx


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