Between the Lines

Everyone can read, but really understanding a book and the story it represents is entirely different. It's important to adopt different perspectives. Here, I offer you mine.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan


Okay, is it sad that part of the reason as to why I picked up this book in the first place is because of its amazingly shiny cover? I mean, as much as this greatly appealed to their primary reader group of human beings, I’m sure that it was also targeted towards their secondary audience of raccoons. You know. They like shiny. Anyway, this is yet another temporary loan courtesy to my friend Delaney, who also loaned to me The Hunger Games and Catching Fire. Oh, dear Delaney, where would my blog or word-hungry mind be without thee, my book buddy?
Okay. Let’s get down to business. (To defeat… THE HUNS.) (Sorry, little Disney musical outbreak there.) (SERIOUS FACE.)


Will Grayson, Will Grayson
John Green and David Levithan
310 Pages


Summary: “On a night that wasn't too different from any other, Will Grayson walks into a downtown Chicago porn shop after getting left behind by his friends. At the same time, Will Grayson--a different Will Grayson--walks into the same porn shop to meet his Internet boyfriend. The meeting of the two Will Graysons, both with the same problem, will change each of them in unexpected ways. For both Wills are scared to risk it all. But thanks to a girl named Jane, a boy named Gideon, and the fabulous Tiny Cooper, Will Grayson's life will become something great.”


Positive: 1. Humor.
Reading this book, I actually felt like a bit of a loser for giggling to myself alone in my room. Though a bit of a stretch from realistic, a few scenes from this book had me literally laughing out loud! I don’t usually enjoy reading comedic books because it just feels like the author is trying too hard to be funny, but I must say that both authors of this book mastered it beautifully. I felt like I was sitting on the couch and talking to the characters. 2. Style. At the beginning of the book, I must admit that I was horribly confused. Were they really two separate people? Or was it like an alter-ego kind of thing? When I figured out that there were in fact two separate Will Graysons taking turns narrating the story, this new rhythm of the book was very refreshing. At first I was a little skeptical about reading a book with two authors because I reasoned that both must have different writing styles and if both used in the same story, it would probably be a little confusing. However, I found that that was the point when I discovered that this story was split into two separate parts. It really gave the two Will Graysons their own individualities. Will Grayson 1, who was written by David Levithan, is far closer to your average teenager. Laid back, easy to relate to, wanting to fit in. I liked him. Will Grayson 2, written by John Green, was, to be frank, kind of emo. He didn’t use any capitalization (I sensed some definite detachment and not-caring going on there), and his closest friend really wasn’t that close. The contrast between the two characters really interested me. 3. Uniqueness. Most gay guys featured in books I’ve read have been kind of reserved. They were just kind of like, “Hey! Guess what? I’m gay.” And that was about it. Maybe there was a boyfriend, but overall the character was kind of muzzled. Here, though, the gay characters of this book were actually allowed to be proud of who they were, and even—gasp!—sexual. I enjoyed that the authors gave the gay characters of the book a little more dimension than others that I’ve read. The book doesn’t shy away from uncomfortable situations like teen depression, having a gay best friend, or even being publicly humiliated in front of the entire student body. If there’s one thing John Green and David Levithan can write together, it’s teenage literature. These two made a great team in writing a relatable and borderline brilliant young adult novel.

Negative: Okay, for a change, I actually came up with a decent string of negatives!! 1. The absence of capitalization during Will Grayson 2’s narrating. I completely understood why this was essential to the character and why it made sense and how it was needed to differentiate between the two Will Graysons, but I still don’t like reading it. As a Grammar Nazi, looking past the symbolic meaning and creativity behind it, it was annoying. Just wanted to throw that out there. 2. The ending. I promise I won’t give it away in this description! The ending was… how else could I put this? A David Levithan ending. An ending in which the main character has a giant, life-changing epiphany and suddenly understands the meaning of Life and The Universe and Everything Else. I personally like more of a gradual realization, but whatever.

Overall: Will Grayson, Will Grayson is an experiment in storytelling, and it definitely accomplishes the goal of shaking things up. The book was really good and exciting to me, but not the sort of thing I’d read a million times over and over again. It was more of a one-hit-wonder. I’d recommend it to people who enjoy a humorous yet intellectually stimulating and thematically significant story that is equal in both parts light and serious.

Rating: One Thumb Up

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