Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Review: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
Reviewed by Maggie: April 17, 2012
Published March 1, 2012 by Amulet Books
Goodreads • Buy at AmazonKindle • Book Depository

If I had to describe Me and Earl and the Dying Girl in 22 words, they would be: Adaptation meets the teen version of Larry and Leon from Curb Your Enthusiasm with a dash of Troy and Abed from Community. Basically, I loved the hell out of this book. Jo, the girl with the old coat and saucy new dress, promised me a snort-laugh. I snort-laughed. In fact, I went through the book in one snort-filled sitting, which I haven't done in a while.

The premise... actually, forget about the premise. Just read the book!


Did that actually work with anyone?
If not --> Please continue reading.

I'm hesitant to include a summary of the book because it includes the c-word. The other c-word, potty mouths. Cancer. I saw this book on NetGalley for weeks and passed on it in favor of a book I haven't even read yet. The reason I passed, despite the jaunty cover, was cancer. Fuck that shit. Cancer, especially in a book, makes me think of something even worse: Nicholas Sparks. I am not a fan of cheap emotional ploys.

Cheap laughs though? I'm all in! I was into this story from the beginning, when "surprise Jew" Greg Gaines is describing the different factions vying for power in his suburban Pittsburgh high school. He gets to the church kids and their use of cookies, board games, and a Nintendo Wii to try to get fellow students to their church. Greg thinks,
"Something about it always seems a little off. Eventually, you realize: These same exact sentences are also said by child predators."
To clarify, Greg doesn't have any problems with the church kids or their religious affiliation -- he's just making an observation on their methodology. Greg doesn't have a problem with any group because he works hard at being just friendly enough with all but close to none. The only person Greg is close to is his windmill-kicking partner in filmmaking crime, Earl. Greg's had a few brushes with girls, like the time a girl in Hebrew school thought they were dating because he was flirting madly with her in an attempt to catch the eye of her hotter friend. This girl, Rachel, aka Dying Girl, gets leukemia. Greg's mother berates him into going over to her house. Cancer and hijinks, but mainly hijinks, ensue. A cat named Cat Stevens, star of such films at Cat-ablana and The Manchurian Cat-idate, plays a prominent role.

If you're the easily offended type, get some pho then read this book. It's bawdy and profane. But it's also great. Parents and family are present, more so than I've come to expect in YA books. I loved Greg, even as he tried to modestly resist. I would compare him to Adrian Mole, expect I read Adrian Mole ages ago and can't remember if the comparison is apt. (Do you like how I'm throwing it out there anyway?)

Jesse Andrews punches you in the face with his hilarious, assured debut. Highly recommended. HARF!

Rating: 4.5/5 stars.


  1. I love this review, Mags! I have wanted to read this since I saw the cover, it's such an eye-catching cover and I'm so glad the book matches it in quality.

    I love the Adrian Mole reference, ha! I read those books when I was a young teen so I don't remember much about him either ;)

    1. I was so pissed I didn't read this sooner because as soon I finished it, I was like, I should've sent this to Mandee. If you can't get ahold of it, let me know so I can send it to you!

  2. I hope this isn't awkward but every time I read your reviews, I feel like I'm reading a review written by one of my good friends. Like we are sense of humor kindred spirits. Scratch that, I hope you feel awkward as hell. I'll be over here laughing AT you. Fin.

    1. I see your awkward moment and I raise you this: While writing this review, I contemplated a c-word/Seaward Arrested Development joke and thought, At least Flannery would get it. Haha. Call?

    2. Good call. Throw me all your AD references and I'll pick them up and put them in the banana stand.

  3. Great review Maggie! I'm so glad you loved this book too! I wasn't actually going to request it either because of the cancer aspect I thought it would be too emotionally draining, but I'm glad I dind't pass up the opportunity because it was freaking hilarious! I espeically loved Earl, I really hope we get to read more about these characters soon! :)

  4. Haha, that quote above made me laugh so much. I wish I had read this instead of The Fault in Our Stars. Any book that contains homemade cat movies with silly titles is definitely for me. :)

  5. I wish we were in the same book club, Maggie. We would have the best fun in the entire world.

    I'm so glad you enjoyed this one. It's such a brilliant book.

    But I'm even more glad that you snort-laughed all over yourself too. ;)

  6. I enjoyed this one a lot too, Maggie. I did feel that he occasionally went just a bit too far with the self-deprecating humor (something I normally appreciate), but he more than made up for it with originality.

  7. I really have to read this one. Love cheap laughs, not easily offended, the cruder the better, in my opinion!


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