Title: Will Grayson, Will Grayson
Authors: John Green and David Levithan
Published: 2010 Pages: 310
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
First can I just say Yippee for finally finishing a book? It’s not just that I haven’t been writing reviews lately, it’s that I haven’t finished any books [recently] to write reviews! So, big fat Yippee!
Will Grayson, Will Grayson is the story of two teenaged characters by the name of…yup…Will Grayson. John Green and David Levithan cowrote the story, each writing for one Will Grayson in alternating chapters. WG 1 has just fallen out with the Group of Friends and his only true remaining friend is the very gay Tiny Cooper who is constantly falling in and out of love and hooking poor WG 1 up with Jane. WG 2 struggles with depression and being a closeted gay and has fallen in love with a boy online named Isaac. The two WGs meet by pure chance at a Chicago porn shop after WG 1’s fake id isn’t enough to get him into a concert (the fake says he’s 20!) and WG 2 travels by train to meet Isaac for the first time. From there on out their lives intertwine in ways that you wish could happen in real life.
This is my first foray into David Levithan and my second taste of John Green (I listened to Paper Towns and as soon as I can get my hands on a hardcopy will try to review). At first I’ll admit I didn’t really care for this book. I was only reading a chapter here and there before bed and I preferred WG 1 much more than WG 2. In fact, I couldn’t stand WG 2. He was moody and negative and just a plain downer. But everything changed for me once the two WGs met and their stories began to intertwine. In the end I think I even prefer WG 2 and could see so much more growth in him as a character than for any other character.
I’ll start with the things I didn’t like. WG 2 doesn’t use capitalization and his story line caused me to hold my book close when I was reading in public so book peepers couldn’t read the foul language and sexual content over my shoulder. I didn’t like the moodiness and the down and out depression. I lived through this once as a teen and don’t really care to revisit it through literature. I bought this book after RAVE reviews and I couldn’t help but be let down just a little teeny tiny bit.
BUT. The things I loved. Tiny Cooper. The fact that Tiny Cooper wrote a musical first about himself and then about love. Since I’m obsessed with all things musicals (Glee!), I loved loved loved this. I also loved how real the characters are. Ok, so maybe they’re a bit exaggerated and even a tad stereotyped, but there was a realness in their interactions, conversations, and thoughts that I really appreciated. When you’re 16 or 17 or 18 you believe that you hold all of the world’s wisdom, and I think to an extent teenagers do have a lot of wisdom. Just maybe not the maturity to fully realize what that wisdom actually means. I felt this when I was listening to Paper Towns as well–there’s so much honest raw truth in these books–the knowing everything without really knowing anything or having the experience to put that honest raw truth to good use.
In the end I enjoyed the book. I mark down for the language and content–at times it’s a little base and even crude. And I know this comes with the teenaged territory, but still. This book definitely had it’s gritty moments that made me think “really…?” But the good definitely outweighs the bad on this one. And above everything else, it’s a story about love. What more can you ask for? Love, and finding yourself, and forgiving, and discovering, and recovering. But mostly love.
A few favorite parts:
“That’s the problem: so many things are true. It’s true that I want to smother her with compliments and true that I want to keep my distance. True that I want her to like me and true that I don’t. The stupid, endless truth speaking out of both sides of its big, stupid mouth. It’s what keeps me, stupidly, talking” (WG 1, 53).
“‘Yeah,’ I say. “‘It’s hard to believe in coincidence, but it’s even harder to believe in anything else'” (WG 1, 114).
“the only time that i pretend i have it all together is when maura’s around. i don’t want her to see me falling apart. worse case scenario: she stomps on all the pieces. worse-than-that case scenario: she tries to put them together again. i realize: i am now where she was with me. on the other side of the silence. you’d think that silence would be peaceful. but really, it’s painful” (WG 2, 264).
“that’s it–hundreds of texts and conversations, thousands upon thousands of words spoken and sent, all boiled down to a single line [“i think you’re in love with my need”]. is that what relationships become? a reduced version of the hurt, nothing else let in. it was more than that. i know it was more than that” (WG 2, 298).
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