Me and Earl and the Dying Girl: Film Adaptation vs the Book, A Review

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews follows two best friends, Greg and Earl, who make short films based off of ridiculous ideas, and Rachel, who Greg was friends with in their childhood. When Rachel is diagnosed with leukemia, Greg’s mother forces him to go rekindle their friendship and cheer her up. Greg and Earl then make it their mission to create a short film for her. The friendship that blossoms among the three of them is beautiful and somewhat heartbreaking. It’s a great young adult contemporary that doesn’t make an illness the main subject of the story. It’s a very real and honest look into the life of a trio of teenagers in a bad situation and it still manages to retain a lot of humor.

I thought that Me and Earl and the Dying Girl was a really cute book. It made me laugh, it made me cry. It made me watch the film. And as a reader, you always have to take film adaptations with a grain of salt. Sometimes you get lucky but for the most part, it’s not unusual for it to be a let down.

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, both book and film, were well done and I found very few differences between the two. The actors all looked quite similar to how I pictured them while reading the book, so that’s always a plus. When reading the book, I felt almost like I was in a dream state. Typically, that’s how I always feel when reading contemporaries but Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is a dreamy read. It’s the writing style. It’s artsy and complex but presented in a really simple way. The film adaptation did brilliantly in retaining this feeling. It would take some serious effort on my part to try and separate the book in my head from what I saw in the film.

This is probably the best young adult book I’ve read that centers around someone with a terminal illness. There is no ‘oh, you’re dying btw i luv u’ or ‘oh, you’re dying, there must be a moral to all of this’. It truly just focuses on three teenagers trying to deal with life the best way that they can. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is a witty, humorous, real, and moving story and whether you read it or watch it, you’re guaranteed to feel something good.


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