Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Book Review: Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Leviathan

Title: Will Grayson, Will Grayson

Author(s): John Green and David Levithan

Pages: 304

Received from: library


One cold night, in a most unlikely corner of Chicago, two teens—both named Will Grayson—are about to cross paths. As their worlds collide and intertwine, the Will Graysons find their lives going in new and unexpected directions, building toward romantic turns-of-heart and the epic production of history’s most fabulous high school musical.

Hilarious, poignant, and deeply insightful, John Green and David Levithan’s collaborative novel is brimming with a double helping of the heart and humor that have won both them legions of faithful fans.

We have two Will Graysons.

One, the son of two doctors, lives in relative obscurity in his Chicago town with his outrageously gay BFF, Tiny Cooper. He lives by two rules: 1) shut up and 2) don't care.

The other, living with his single mother, dirt poor, depressed, friendless and closeted, the sole up side of his otherwise dreary life is his daily conversations with Isaac, a man he met online.

This one speaks in more of a continuous inner monologue, no capitilizations, about how he hates everyone. This may sound like an exageration, but. This is his introductory sentence:

i am constantly torn between killing myself and killing everyone around me.

John Green's Will, the first one, speaks as a Typical John Green Narrator. Awkward, shy, sarcastic though generally optimistic. A teenager's teenager. Which is fine.

David's Will is...not. He's bitter and angry and annoyed and self-aware and a generally unpleasent person. He is the more interesting of the two, by far, and the one you could relate to, you could hate, you could love and feel so bad for. I found myself skimming John's Will's chapters just so I could get to this Will--the Meat and Potatoes, if you will.

Not to say John's Will is bad. It's not. But it is just so very much a John Green type of story. Worse, a half-assed, cheap and half-dressed John Green imitation. It's like Green took every other book he's ever written, sped it up, left spaces for David and sent it out. It became a frustrating ordeal, trying to care about this whiney little honors student with parents who, though regularly absent, care a great deal for him go on about his half-assed romance with a girl Jane and dwindling friendship with Tiny. I mean...gawd.

And then there's Tiny. Really, the entire circle of events--for both Graysons--revolve around Tiny Cooper. For some, this is a good thing. For others--namely me--this was...tedious. Frustrating. Stupid beyond belief.

Hear me out:

Tiny Cooper is gay. This is made abundently clear from the very first sentence. And this is awesome. Gay people rule. But. This seems to be Tiny's entire personality...he is, despite his large stature, a walking gay stereotype. Flamboyant, obnoxious, sucking up attention like a vampire would blood to the point where he slaves over a musical about himself. He is constantly on a new schtick, a new love interest or relationship, falling into the pits of despair when they inevitably don't work out. This was funny, cute, at first. But it never gave. Nothing was ever done with him and his small moment of redemption, of development, wasn't even that---it was still all about him, from the very (cheesy, corny) end. Why not just name the book Tiny Cooper, Tiny Cooper? I mean, good god man.

On the other hand, I did not realize how much I disliked Tiny Cooper until the end--the end that, despite the book being about the Grayson's respective epiphanies, was still about this raging, egotistical drama queen. I won't give it away, but I think that end was truly the moment I lost faith in John Green's perfection as a writer. Because this ending, this story, these stories were not perfect. They were clipped and underdeveloped and just a drag to read. Not because of the depression aspects, the identity aspects, but because of the things that were supposed to make Will Grayson light and jovial. I had never felt so betrayed, guys.

So, there's that.

Rating: 5/10


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