Me & Earl & The Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

Jesse Andrews may have written a book about a girl dying of cancer, but he is no Lurlene McDaniel. Me & Earl & The Dying Girl is not jam packed with sappy moments and words of wisdom from a girl intelligent beyond her years. It is, however, full of so much sarcastic, self-deprecating, and crass humor that you might want to put on some depends before you read it.

Greg is more an observer of the world than a participant in it. He wants everybody to like him, which means avoiding making friends as much as enemies. The exception is his buddy Earl. Earl is Greg’s sidekick, though not of the yes-man variety; Earl is never afraid to tell it like it is, even if that means kicking Greg’s ass from time to time.

Greg and Earl spend most of their time together making films. When Greg’s former friend Rachel is diagnosed with leukemia, Greg’s mom urges him to reconnect with her and cheer her up. Greg and Earl’s world of two increasingly becomes a world of three as they share their movies with Rachel and decide to make a movie for her. Greg’s not too sure he’s very good at being friends or making movies, but Earl is not about to let him get away with disappointing the dying girl.

Me & Earl & The Dying Girl is written in conversational prose mixed with screenplay, reflecting how Greg sees the world. His narration is reminiscent of Holden Caulfield, but about a thousand times funnier. There are an abundance of “cancer books” these days–The Fault in Our Stars and The Probability of Miracles among them–and like many of them, Me & Earl has meta moments in which it rails against its own genre. Me & Earl is a cancer book that doesn’t want to be a cancer book, and its unsentimental, irreverent, profane, and often downright insensitive main characters certainly set it apart from the pack. Andrews’ debut will make you laugh until you wet yourself, and if you are into that sort of thing, you should definitely read it.

4 Responses to "Me & Earl & The Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews"

  • LOL Melanie, I totally just laughed out loud at the depends line.

    Also, this review is SO well written. I’m kind of envious of your writing ability.

    And YES I love how Earl is not a yes man, but gives Greg a piece of his mind.

    1 April Books & Wine said this (March 1, 2012 at 4:11 PM)

    • Psh, I always wish I could write more like you. We are good for each other’s self-esteem 😉

      2 Melanie said this (March 1, 2012 at 4:31 PM)

  • It’s literally been over a year since I read a funny YA book, the last one was A Match Made In High School. This looks perfect!

    3 Melanie said this (March 1, 2012 at 7:54 PM)

    • I tend toward the sobfests most of the time, but nice to just laugh your ass off every once in a while (especially if it is done well).

      P.S. Responding to you makes me feel a bit like I’m talking to myself 😉

      4 Melanie said this (March 1, 2012 at 8:02 PM)