Staff Review: "Me and Earl and the Dying Girl"
Greg Gaines is a high school senior who has mastered the art of blending into the social woodwork at school. He’s friendly with the many cliques and social strata while being careful not to appear allied to any single faction. His limited experience with girls in junior high was unsuccessful, so he’s given up on dating during high school. His only friend—whom he thinks of as a co-worker—is Earl. Together, they made several films that are recreations or interpretations of existing films. Greg’s world is upended when his mother tells him that one of his previous girlfriends (Rachel) has leukemia, and she thinks Rachel could really use a friend. Greg hasn't really been a part of Rachel’s life since they went back to being “just friends,” and now he’s caught in a terribly awkward situation as he tries to reconnect with Rachel under orders from his mom. This book may technically fall into the teen with cancer category, but if you’re looking for hard-earned wisdom, earnest sentiment, or a sweet romance, this is not that book. Greg, as the author of this book, makes it clear from the first page that he’s uncomfortable with emotions, whether it’s experiencing or expressing them, and he’s certainly not interested in learning or imparting lessons. However, he does provide an honest, often humorous, occasionally rude (and expletive-littered) account of his life as impacted by Rachel-related events. Despite the claims that no lessons were learned, Greg may just be changed for the better, and the same may be true for readers of Me and Earl and the Dying Girl.