My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Publication Date: March 1st 2012
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams
Point of View: 1st Person & Masculine
Recommended Age: 13+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Contemporary, High School, Friendship, Cancer, Humor
Greg Gaines is the last master of high school espionage, able to disappear at will into any social environment. He has only one friend, Earl, and together they spend their time making movies, their own incomprehensible versions of Coppola and Herzog cult classics.
Until Greg’s mother forces him to rekindle his childhood friendship with Rachel.
Rachel has been diagnosed with leukemia—-cue extreme adolescent awkwardness—-but a parental mandate has been issued and must be obeyed. When Rachel stops treatment, Greg and Earl decide the thing to do is to make a film for her, which turns into the Worst Film Ever Made and becomes a turning point in each of their lives.
And all at once Greg must abandon invisibility and stand in the spotlight.
It’s rare for me not to know what to say about a book. And I guess I do know what to say about this one, but my thoughts are very different from other people, so just keep in mind that we all perceive things, characters, scenes, etc. differently.
Greg is a liar.
A big, fat liar, he would correct me.
From the beginning, he is lying to us. He says that his meeting Rachel who suffers from leukemia didn’t change anything inside him. He says he didn’t learn anything from this experience he lived and that in no way has it changed his way of looking at things – cancer, death, friendship, life, etc.
He even says it: I learned absolutely nothing from Rachel’s leukemia.
But those are lies. He’s so in denial it made me furious.
He’s not in touch with his emotions. He’s the type of person who wants to steer clear of altercations at all cost. To make his life simpler, he even decides to befriend everyone at school, without really befriending them, so he could steer clear of any drama befalling him, too.
Now I liked him. I really did. I thought he was adorably goofy and awkward. He doesn’t share my type of humour, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t find this book entertaining.
It is. I was always a huge fan of ‘‘special novels’’ I like to call them. The ones that defy the idea of what a novel should consist of. The ones that aren’t always written in paragraphs and very often use book-related props: letters, bullet points, various fonts, etc.
I liked its original narration and Greg himself. Though I couldn’t agree with him all the time and I still don’t, he’s a kid a small part of me could connect with.
The part that doesn’t know where it belongs in this life. What to study? What school to choose? Where to go and what to do? He and I are very different people and we probably would never be friends, but I can say that he’s a good kid.
Most of the dialogs make sense – thank god – and the humour in form of figures of speech is not hard to decrypt and even the writing is somewhat enjoyable.
BUT THE PLOT, or rather the lack of it, may get on your nerves. The book is fairly fast-paced and interestingly put together (with all of them book-related props) to not lose interest in it, but it does leave the reader thinking, ‘‘Is that it, motherfucker?’’
Yup, that’s it.
I wish you all the best, Greg.