Love doesn’t always come around

Breanna Roen, Staff Writer

Cancer sucks.

The entire world has unanimously agreed upon that, but to Greg Gaines, he doesn’t realize how big the issue of cancer will slowly engulf his every thought and action. Cancer consumes more than just the body, it consumes words, emotions and all positivity. Greg has never experienced this, but he’s ready for the biggest challenge of his life.

“Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” shows us the life of the not-so-romantic Greg Gaines just attempting to get through the inevitable tragedy of high school. Gaine’s main focus is attempting to remain completely under the radar and not obtain any friends or enemies.

Yes, Greg’s had his share of girlfriends and crushes who have sadly broken his non-romantic heart. One of these not-so-lucky girls is Rachel Kushner. Greg and Rachel met in Hebrew school, and the only reason he attempted to woo over Rachel was to win over another girl’s heart.

We can clearly see none of that worked out, and now Greg has no love life. Fast-forward to senior year when he is still maintaining his low level profile and returns home to his mom wanting to inform him of some bad news: Rachel Kushner has acute myelogenous leukemia.

Greg’s mom is now forcing him to do the most awkward thing any senior boy could dream of: spending time with his not-so-ex-girlfriend. At first Rachel isn’t too accepting of the fact that Greg wants to come over after not having communicated in what felt like eons.

Eventually Greg comes over and slowly regains friendship with Rachel. Greg’s best friend Earl who is his polar opposite, also tags along with these adventures to hang out with Rachel. These three end up bonding over home movies directed, produced and acted by Earl and Greg.

What they don’t know is how these movies will affect their friendship, trust and emotions.

This book wasn’t at all what I thought it would be. I was expecting  “Fault in Our Stars” type reading material. No matter how stereotypical it is, the romance genre is a guilty pleasure of mine. I definitely was expecting Greg and Rachel to fall in love. It was the perfect story to make it happen but once again, that would be “Fault in Our Stars” 2.0.

There was no love story, no wholehearted miracles; only- not-so-romantic ending. This book is much bigger than what it has made out to be.

I believe many people criticize the book because it is not the love story we wanted and honestly, it’s a very nice change of pace.

Jesse Andrews is so vastly similar to an author I have been talking about throughout this whole article, the one and only prince of sappy love novels, John Green.

The king is Nicholas Sparks but I’m not even going to elaborate on him right now. The common characters between these two authors is astonishingly similar, two boys and a girl with cancer.

In Green’s book the main masculine role of Augustus Waters has cancer. In Andrew’s book the main masculine character Greg sees himself as a cancer to society. Also “Fault in Our Stars” is a love story, but as it is clearly stated over and over throughout, “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl”  is not that. Kirkus Reviews even states on the front cover of the book, “Though the novel begs… comparisons to John Green’s “The Fault in Our Stars,” it stands on it’s own inventiveness, humor, and heart.”

These authors go hand in hand, so if you are interested in checking out this book you may also want to take a peek at the works of John Green.

This movie has been around since 2015, and has attracted many critics and fans alike. After watching the movie, I am on the fence on whether  I like it or not.

I’m someone who really appreciates when a movie resembles a book to it’s fullest potential. In the book, each chapter has a name, like millions of other books spanning across all genres. In the movie, they show the names of the chapters on screen as they are happening which I thought was pretty intriguing and led me to enjoy the movie from this aspect.

It brought back the feeling of reading the book. Another thing that captured my interest was how nostalgic the book and movie felt to me. Both written and cinematic versions are set in the current era, but there are small devices here and there that feel nostalgic. Greg watches classic movies, visits old record and book stores and for the movies they produce, they use Greg’s dad’s old crank video camera. I also appreciate that Greg essentially narrates his thoughts about all of his friends and what he thinks about all of their actions and emotions.

There were also some points I wasn’t quite a fan of. There is a point in time where Rachel tells Greg she is quitting treatments; in the book he is a little discouraged but not to the point of breaking down from sadness. In the movie he actually becomes annoyed and yells at Rachel.

Greg is upset Rachel no longer has the will to live and he begins to elicit emotions we’ve never seen from him. There is also some minor errors from the book to the movie such as certain characteristics about characters and their quirks, that were missed in the movie.

Overall, the move did a pretty good job emulating the book. As stereotypical as it is, I preferred the book because of its seriousness and the lack of love between the main characters in it. We are so adapted to the idea of love and loss stories that it was a nice change of pace; this story incorporates cancer and no love between the two main characters. “Me and Earl and the dying girl” definitely holds a special place in my heart.

Cancer sucks, cancer doesn’t care about love.

Breanna Roen is a opinion writer for  The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected]