To like this book, I think you have to really enjoy certain types of humour:
a.) Self-depreciating – the main character, Greg, cannot accept a compliment and loves to make comments along the lines of ‘goodness, I hate myself”
b.) Gross – was it Jesse Andrews mission to reference stomach bile as many times as possible
c.) Sexual – ew.
Unfortunately, I’m not a fan of these, at all. I found the things that Greg said, that were meant to be funny, not hilarious at all. However, I did enjoy the blunt way Greg had no self belief about ‘his’ book. It made me keep reading, just to prove to him (and myself) that I could.
As far as characters go, Greg, Earl and Rachel were fairly two dimensional. Greg makes a point at the end how he didn’t really get to know either of his friends, but was this just a cover up for plot-holed writing? I didn’t connect with any of the trio and I especially think Rachel should have played a bigger part in the novel. But, I guess she’s just labelled ‘the dying girl’, so at least she serves a purpose.
The minor characters within the book felt very forced to fit certain stereotyped groups (though I have a feeling that was Andrews’ intention.) My favourite character was probably Greg’s mother but only because she reminded me of my mum occasionally.
Did I just stick it out with this book because it was under 300 pages? Maybe.
One advantage to this book is that it does what it says on the tin…or cover. You get Greg (me), Earl and a dying girl but literally not much else. Greg struck me as someone I would not like to be friends with, but also gave me an epiphany. I usually describe myself, as does Bee, as ‘the funny one’ in social situations. We’re a witty duo that thrive from laughter. However, Greg made me realise that there’s so much more to me than that. Greg doesn’t have any true friends because he relies to much on his humour and social invisibility. I have a lot of friends, but not just because I can crack a joke or two. There are other, better, qualities that people admire about me (hopefully) that make them want to be my friend and Greg’s depreciation made me appreciate that my personality doesn’t rely on one trait to be well liked.
Woah, that was a tangent. Normally I’d try and write more about a book that 400 words, but I’m going to leave it there. I’d give this book somewhere between 2.5-3 stars. (2.75 stars?) because it just really wasn’t my cup of tea (although I don’t drink tea, so the phrase should be ‘this wasn’t my flavour of water’ and if you say water has no flavour, go to Cornwall.)