Times Magazine

By: Anna Beckom

ME and EARL and the Dying GIRL


*Written before watching the movie
Rating: 4/5 stars

I thought that the book Me and Earl and the Dying Girl was very good. It was written by one of the characters himself, so the grammar of the book was not always on point; however, I thought the general idea of the book was very inspiring with a sense of reality.

This book shows the life of three very unique characters (Greg Gaines, Rachel Kushner, and Earl Jackson). Each character, I feel, was very well described and developed, you can see this most when looking at the background, childhood and family relations. Most of all I think the best part of the characters was the connections that they make with each other. Starting off, Greg and Earl (who have been friends since kindergarten) are a very unlikely duo. Coming from different neighborhoods, different circles at school and activities Greg and Earl are able to start Gaines/Jackson films, which is ultimately the glue in their relationship. Then there is Greg and Rachel. This relation is a bit more awkward as Rachel and Greg went to Jewish School together (during their younger grades). During this time Greg did not know how to really express his feeling towards other girls so he uses Rachel to “get close” to another girl. This ends up backfiring on him and he never really wants to talk to Rachel again. However, one day as a senior in high school (regular high school) Greg's mom comes in with some very sad news, Rachel has been diagnosed with cancer and she wants Greg to become Rachel's friend again and comfort her as she is sick. This starts out as a doomed friendship but eventually grows into a real and personal connection. Unfortunately, Rachel's cancer also grows leading to more sadness and a great loss.

I liked this book so much because I think it really captures how a normal teenage life goes. I only gave it 4/5 stars because of the conclusion of the book; I felt as though it was conceived as very abrupt. I also did not like one of Greg's personality traits of over sarcasm and self-hatred. Though it was minor and almost funny it really bother me at times.

Comparison: Movie Vs. Book

*Written after movie (and read book)
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

OVERALL: I surprisingly liked the both the book and movie the same. I felt the book was much more descriptive and created better, more in-depth background of the characters but the movie had a much better ending!

THE MOVIE: I felt that the movie did leave out some major details however, most books made to movies do. In the ending of the book, I felt that it was much more emotional and made more heartfelt ending. This could have been done to engage viewers in the movie or simply to help give warmth to the terrible tragedy that occurs.

DIFFERENCES: In the book there was much more backround to each character some examples include the following:
  • Greg had 2 sisters that could be referenced throughout the book.
  • Greg and Madison didn't get along as in younger years as he had made many mean comments about her, this then alters their relation in the book.
  • Greg and Earl seemed to hang out/ talk a lot more (even sometimes as at Earl's house which was NOT seen in the movie.
  • Earl had more siblings (and more was said about the inside of his house)
  • Finally, Greg was much more interactive with other class mates in the movie, in the book he seemed to mind his own business and didn't get into any fights which we could see in the movie.

PERSONAL DIFFERENCES: When reading the book I got to imagine and create each character. I had a sense of what Greg, Earl and Rachel looked liked as I saw the preview before hand, however sometimes I imagined other characters differently. For example, Madison; she is a popular yet nice girl that is always willing to take a "charity case". When I created her I definitely had her in a different style than in the movie. I also found that all of the parents I imaged differently, Greg's mom was much more advocate in the movie but had a more caring sense in the book. Lastly, I thought that Rachel had a differnt attitude about dying. In the book I never really thought of her "giving up"; I just knew that the type and stage of cancer would take her. In the movie however, Greg expresses his anger when she says she is going to chemo and just see what happens.
Movie Trailer!

Now available on redbox :) RATED: PG13 *graphic language