PAGE TO SCREEN REVIEW+INTERVIEW: Me & Earl & the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

9781419720130_s3Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

Pub. Date: March 1, 2012

Publisher: Abrams

Pages: 304

Format: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook, Audiobook

Find it: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N| IndieBound | The Book Depository

When you convert a good book into a film, stupid things happen.”―Jesse Andrews, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

Greg Gaines is just trying to get through high school. He’s not a typical high schooler; He doesn’t have one group of close friends, and he doesn’t stick with any of the friend groups all the time. Instead, his strategy for getting through high school is befriending everyone. In the morning, he makes his rounds saying hi to the popular kids, the jocks, the nerds and the bikers. He does have someone he hangs out with, though, but Greg doesn’t call him a friend.

Earl is Greg’s business partner, or rather, co-director. They make movies together. They’ve made more movies than they can count, starting from when they were really little. Earl is a personality, and he and Greg connect through the films they make as well as the films they watch. No one else seems to appreciate the films they watch, but they both get inspiration for their movies and learn new things the more films they watch. Filmmaking is so collaborative, said author Jesse Andrews, in an interview at the Texas Teen Book Festival.

“It seemed like the right art form to inflict on Greg…If he loves movies, he can’t just do them alone he has to have a least have one other person,and that is Earl,” said Andrews.

Then there’s Rachel. She’s not popular, but most people have seen her around school. Now, though, they don’t just know her as Rachel; they know her as the girl with cancer. Rachel just found out she has leukemia, and now everybody can’t help but notice her and have sympathy for her.

Greg’s mom wants Greg to hang out with Rachel, whom Greg hasn’t talked too much, and “help her feel better.” He reluctantly accepts, andthey start spending time together.

A hilarious book about a sad topic, this chronicles Greg, Earl andRachel as they traverse their senior year of high school together. This book will captivate readers and send them on the wild ride of Greg’s life as he gets to know Rachel better.

“I really wanted to write a book about teenagers that was funny, but also about something difficult,” said Andrews.

I read this book in two days, and couldn’t put it down. This book captivated me; it’s a unique story with incredible characters. Though it’s partially about a girl with leukemia, it is one of the funniest books I’ve read yet. If you’ve avoided reading this solely because of the sad premise, you are doing yourself a disservice. I highly recommend this book, and I’m highly anticipating Jesse Andrews’s new book, The Haters, in April, which is about three teens at jazz camp.

“That book is three teenagers again, two boys and a girl again…they’re musicians, they meet at jazz camp. The two guys are already best friends, they’re 17, the girl’s 17. They hate jazz camp, and the girl gets kicked out, and she decides to hit the road. She says, ‘you guys should come with me. We should start a band. No one we listen to got their start at jazz camp.’ Soon, they’re on the roads, playing for crowds, and they’re saying, ‘that’s who I want to be.’ It’s a book about music, and teenagers,” said Andrews.

 

THE MOVIE

 

I went into this movie with pretty high expectations because of the excellent book. I’d heard positive things about this film, and I had decided against seeing the trailer so it could surprise me entirely. Let’s just say that my expectations were blown away. This film is really cinematic and beautifully adapted to the screen. The characters were more fleshed out and relatable in the film and the setting had a strong presence in the screenplay.

The movie is so fabulous; it’s hard to put it into words. It was easier to follow than the book, and though it strayed from the plot of the book in some ways, the changes were better for the movie adaptation. Jesse Andrews, the author, wrote the screenplay himself. He changed those things from his own book, which made the changes feel more authentic. This movie made me laugh and cry, and I walked out of the theater feeling so satisfied.

This movie is an incredible adaptation from start to finish, and it paralleled the book closely, which was astounding. I highly recommend this book, and I definitely recommend the movie.

INTERVIEW

This past October, I attended and covered the Texas Teen Book Festival, as well as interviewed many authors. Jesse Andrews was one of them. SO, I present to you…my interview with the amazing Jesse Andrews!

 

Also, something I really like that Jesse Andrews said that I transcribed.

Jesse Andrews on Writing:

“Just do it. Do a lot of it, and be prepared to not be good at it for a while. That’s how it is, no one’s good at it right away. Even if you’re good at aspects of it, then that’s great, and you should take pride andcomfort in that, there’s always ways can improve it and that’s what you have to focus on. So you know, it’s okay if you write a draft of something that’s not really good, I think my first drafts are really terrible, but you can’t just skip straight to the second draft. The first draft is the first thing. I wrote two books before me and Earl that never got published and never will. That’s because they’re not really good, but I had to write them to get to a place where I could write something even, like, a little publishable. It’s a long haul, you know. Make sure you’re writing to write, and not to have written. I think the desire, at least at first, is the part where you show it to people and say “I’m a writer, because I have this thing, and I wrote it.” That’s great, and it’s great to get satisfaction from it, but not to be satisfied, but ultimately, if you write, it has to be to write. Because if you don’t love just to write, just the act of arranging words, and playing with the possibilities, sooner or later you hate it if you keep forcing yourself to do it. If that is the part you love, the language, the sounds of it, the feel of it, the miracle that happens in someone else’s head when the book is words on a page and it becomes this entire world in our head, if that’s why you love to write, but if you just want to have written, then just think about that.”

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