I get the feeling that I’m in the minority when I say Will Grayson, Will Grayson is my favourite John Green book. Everyone I’ve talked to about this seems to the one of his first three is the best. John Green even, arguably, seems to think this as his vlogs in the year coming up to the release of Paper Towns were all about Paper Towns. We barely heard about Will Grayson, Will Grayson until the month of its release.
Unfortunately, this is the only book by David Levithan that I’ve read, so I guess it’s my favourite by default. I do plan to rectify this as soon as I can.
Why is this my favourite John Green book, you ask? Well, there are many reasons. But all in all in comes down to the editing. The editing the authors did to make events and people match up. The editing that made both parts of the book read in completely different ways but still feel as if they were the same book. The editing that made David Levithan’s chapters comprehensible. Cause, seriously, thats an astonishing feat in and of itself. Though, not because he is a bad writer or anything. No, no! If anything the style in which he wrote his chapters proves that he is a superior writer. So often authors make these stylistic choices and…well…they just shouldn’t have. But after being sure that I’d never get used it in the first even numbered chapter, the rest didn’t feel awkward at all.
A style example (I promise you, the punctuation is how it is in the book):
the other will grayson heads off, leaving me with my new refrigerator-size companion, who’s looking at me with such sincerity that i want to slap him.
me: you don’t have to stay. really
tiny: what, and leave you here to mope?
Will Grayson, Will Grayson is the story of two Wills and how they relate to the people in their lives. They both live suburbs of Chicago and don’t know the other one exists. The authors of the book have always described the plot as a big X. The characters start out in their own corners, come together in the middle, and then go their seperate ways again.
This book was funny. It was hilarious. I laughed out loud repeatedly. The humour was frank, realistic, and almost unceasing. Which, as this book deals with some very serious things, is astonishing. The teenagers sounded like teenagers, and they crack jokes and are sarcastic and pretentious and awesome. I can only think of one character that I truly disliked and…well…she does something AWFUL and I just can’t forgive her for it.
A passage from chapter one to demonstrate said humour (and some of the pretentiousness):
“Well, you have to be back by eleven,” and I say, “Mom this is a historical event. History doesn’t have a curfew,” and she says, “Back by eleven,” and I say, “Fine. Jesus,” and then she has to go cut cancer out of someone.
The two Will’s are so different it is hard to imagine that they would have anything in common or be able to relate to each other at all. John’s Will is well-off, has a large annoying friend, and has decided that he is living his life according to two specific rules. 1. Don’t care too much. 2. Shut up. Anything that has gone wrong in his life happened because he wasn’t following the rules.
David’s Will has depression (like…clinically, the disease kind), his main relationship, outside of family, is with a girl whom he despises, and he’s never kissed a boy before. He’s kissed girls but that isn’t what he really wants.
And then there’s Tiny Cooper. The common link. He is the annoying large friend. He is the boy who might be a first kiss. He is the loud, obnoxious, hilarious, loving, rope (or whatever) that holds this book, and the characters, together.
There’s so much I could say about this book, about PossiblyGayJane, about the Musical(!), about breaking up on a swing-set, about having a special place, about liking someone so much you’re willing to be with them when they hate you, liking them so much you’re willing to create a whole new person for them. But, I don’t really want to spoil anything. I do have to say though, that at its core, this book is a celebration of life and love. And not really romantic love. Sure, it’s there for both Wills. But it’s really about all kinds of love. Family love, and how much that can withstand. About the love we have for our friends and how there is no right time to tell them we love them, even though they deserve to hear it.
That’s why I think I loved this book more than John Green’s other books. It is, very simply, about love, in all shapes and sizes.
And, about being FABULOUS.