~post by Willa, Teen Press Corps
I remember when this book came out and all of my friends were telling me how incredible it was. Somehow, I didn’t read it. (I still haven’t—but I’m working on it!) After seeing the movie, I’m regretting this move, but I also want to read the book more than ever before.
ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL is, in one word, honest.
Coming out of the theater, my mom asked me what I thought. The only thing I could come up with in my awed state is, “the characters were all so honest.” And it’s true. Greg, Earl, and Rachel are such honest characters. In the way they look at the world around them (Greg’s introductions to the various circles of people at his school were so hilarious and real that it made me love him even more), the way they interact (the awkward conversations? YEP), their fear/worry about college (yepyepyepyep), and the way they acted. As a teenager, I was able to connect in some ways with not only Greg, but also with Earl and Rachel. I connected with Greg’s desire to be friends with everyone and just get over with high school, Earl’s more care-free attitude, and Rachel’s more artsy creative side.
Another thing I adored about the characters were their hobbies and how much they loved them. Earl and Greg’s movie-making was such an enjoyable part of the movie. The titles of their remakes had the theater I was in cracking up to no end. Rachel’s hobby that is shown at the end of the movie had me head over heels in love. I know so many other teenagers with really cool hobbies, and I loved seeing this in a movie. It’s probably one of the first times I’ve seen that in a film, now that I think about it.
Also. Can we talk about how beautiful the film was? Setting wise, production wise – I loved it. After taking a Film Studies class two years ago, I’m so much more aware of the way movies are made and impact that has on your experience watching them. I loved the colors and the way the film looked.
AND THE SOUNDTRACK. Don’t even get me started on the soundtrack. (Actually, I’m going to get myself started.) IT IS SO BEAUTIFUL I HAVE LOTS OF WORDS ON THE SUBJECT. Brian Eno is my hero. He’s brilliant and the soundtrack he put together for this movie is everything. I need to buy it. Now. Please. Release the soundtrack so I can buy it now.
I obviously haven’t read the novel, so I have no idea how it was in comparison to the book, but from friends I’ve heard it did a pretty good job of staying true to the book. I’m curious how Andrews did the visual elements of the film (the snippets of Earl and Greg’s movies + the mouse thing) in the book, as well as how it translated to screen from the book.
Last thing I loved: the emphasis on friendship over romance. Greg and Rachel’s friendship was more powerful than if they had been dating, and I loved the way their friendship grew over the course of the film. Their inside jokes and moments watching movies made my heart sing. I wanted to watch them watch movies for hours.
Also: THIS MOVIE IS DARN FUNNY. Go see it.
ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL is Jesse Andrews’s only book, so sadly you can’t find more of him anywhere. He’s also a scriptwriter on the side (he wrote the script for MAEATDG) and according to his website is working on new novels. The film adaptation won the Audience Award and the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, and has gotten rave reviews from fans and critics alike. We’re ecstatic to have Andrews joining us as TTBF, and can’t wait to see what he has to say on his panels. You can catch him at lunchtime in conversation with Kaui Hart Hemmings and Rick Yancey about film adaptations, and on the “No Risks, No Rewards” panel with Lindsey Lane, David leviathan, Cindy Pon, and Carrie Ryan.