Me and Earl and the Dying Girl: A book review


I generally am not a fan of books about a chronically ill person aka Sick-lit, especially when it comes to young adult books. It has been done so many times and I am just tired of it. Yet, I picked up Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews, all thanks to the gorgeous cover. How it fare on my scale? Read to know more.

About the book

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl Cover

Book Name: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

Author: Jesse Andrews

Genre: Fiction – Drama, Young Adult

Characters: Greg Gaines, Earl Jackson, Rachel Kushner

Setting: Pittsburgh, PennsylvaniaThe USA

The plot

Greg Gaines is the master of moderation in his high school. He just wants to blend to the wallpaper and is a friend of everyone so that he doesn’t have to be friends to anyone in particular. His only true and close friend is Earl Jackson.

Greg and Earl bonded over making movies, their version of foreign classic movies. They know that their movies are not good and not for others’ view.

Everything changes when Greg’s mother pushes him to rekindle his childhood friendship with Rachel. Rachel Kushner has been recently diagnosed with leukemia and she is dying.

What happens when the duo is forced to make a movie for the dying girl, forms the rest of the Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews.

My initial thoughts

As I mentioned earlier, dying girls and grief stricken boyfriends are definitely not my cup of tea. Well, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is not about that. The book is hilarious at parts, funny in other parts and meh among the others. And it is entirely upon the reader on finding what makes them laugh.

Yes, the dialogs are witty, sometimes crude and vulgar. But nothing more than what teens would be speaking.

What I loved about the book is that Greg doesn’t end up becoming Rachel’s best friend or boyfriend and speak the philosophies of life. He is still the crude teen that doesn’t want to befriend anyone else but Earl.

I really liked Earl and his over the top brothers. I love his earnestness and him wanting to help his mother as much as possible.

What worked for me

  • The characters behave their age and are realistic. Greg doesn’t become a romantic nor Earl becomes a star, overnight.
  • Mostly the book is funny and witty. Most of the time. Even when it doesn’t, the format keeps it interesting.
  • There is no romance angle, so that is a yay from me.

What may have been better

  • I love self deprecating humor but there is a thing called overload. At some point when the “wittiness” falls flat and the tone lackluster.
  • If Greg is gonna say that this is a stupid book one more time, I might have lost it.

Bottom line

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews is a hilarious young adult book involving a cancer patient but doesn’t revolve around her. Read it for the mostly funny writing and eccentric characters.

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Let’s chat

Have you read Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews? How did you like it? Is the movie better than the book? Let us talk.


20 responses to “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl: A book review”

  1. I jumped on reading this book after seeing the movie panel at BookCon. Andrews called it a funny book about something not funny, and he pretty much nailed it with that description. I enjoyed it, because the humor and the friendship really worked for me. I will say Greg was a bit more likable in the movie and I was a fan of the small changes made there.

  2. A friend made us watch the movie once and I didn’t like it or find it funny at all. I’m not sure if I would like the book or not. I’m really picky about what makes me laugh…LOL.

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