The popularity of The Fault in Our Stars by John Green and its movie has lead to the revival of an old genre in teen literature: Sick Lit. As the story goes, beautiful but terminally ill teens find The Meaning of Life, True Love and other Very Important Things before shuffling off this mortal coil.
This is not one of those books.
First, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (MEDG) is hilarious. Antihero Greg Gains and his bawdy friend Earl have some of the most hilarious exchanges in teen lit. Second, MEDG defies every Sick Lit stereotype. The narrator befriends Rachel, the dying girl, only because his mom guilts him into it. Greg doesn’t fall in love with Rachel or vice versa. Earl is a bad best friend. No one delivers a monologue that sounds like a PhD. philosophy thesis. No one achieves existential transcendence.
But MEDG is much more than an anti-Fault in our Stars. By shunning the Sick Lit script and easy characterizations, author Jesse Andrew delivers an honest sketch of teens on the edge of the next (or final) stage of life.
Posted by: Trevor