Andrews, Jesse. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. New York: Amulet Books, 2012. Print.
image from: www.abramsbooks.com
Greg Gaines tells the story of how he perfected getting along with everyone in high school without actually becoming friends with anyone. "I know. I know. This sounds insane. But it's exactly what I did. I didn't join any group outright, you understand. But I got access to all of them....I could walk into any group of kids, and not one of them would bat an eye" (Andrews 8). This worked until his mom asked him to visit Rachel Kushner, a girl he went to Jewish school with as a youngster.
Chapter 3: "Let's Just Get This Embarrassing Chapter Out of the Way"
This is Greg's explanation of his interactions with girls. "Failed Girl Tactic #1: The Non-Crush," "Failed Girl Tactic #2: The Nonstop Insults," "Failed Girl Tactic #3: The Diversion," "Failed Girl Tactic #4: The Boob Compliment," "Failed Girl Tactic #5: The Gentleman." Each tactic gives a vignette of his interaction. FUNNY!
Chapter 7 is an introduction to the Gaines Family. Each member is described by Greg. We meet Earl Jackson in Chapter 9. They attend the same school. "Earl and I are friends. Sort of. Actually, Earl and I are more like coworkers" (Andrews 61). We learn that Earl and Greg make movies together--terrible, awful, nonsense movies. Their entire friendship is based on this. Earl's world is vastly different than Greg's. "In some ways our friendship makes no sense at all" (Andrews 77). We learn the back story in Chapter 11. It is funny that Greg later refers to Earl as his moral compass. "I need to rely on him for guidance, or else I might accidentally become like a hermit or a terrorist or something" (Andrews 160).
I learned what "yinzers" are from reading this book. "People with heavy Pittsburgh accents...[who] wear Steelers apparel at all times, including in the workplace and at weddings" (Andrews 86).
Greg's "job" is to make Rachel laugh. He does an amazing job. At one point, he shows her his belly. "I'm not as fat as a lot of kids, but I'm definitely fat, and I can definitely grab two different rolls of my stomach and make it talk like a Muppet....It had a Southern accent for some reason" (Andrews 188). HA! When he leaves a book with her, Greg explains that if she were more motivated, she "would have discovered the secret Yale preparation high school that is buried deep beneath your normal high school" (Andrews 192). I've thought there is a secret knowledge my entire life.
So, there are so many funny descriptions in this book. He talks about the pep rally where Rachel the Film is shown. Hilarious description of the principal's speech! I bookmarked several passages in the "Aftermath" chapters. Truly witty. Again, a funny read with a ton of cursing that makes the characters real.