Don’t Judge a Book by its Movie is a weekly feature on The Candid Cover spotlighting and reviewing book to movie adaptations.
Author: Jesse Andrews
Publisher: Amulet Books
Cast: Thomas Mann, Olivia Cooke, RJ Cyler
Director: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
Screenplay: Jesse Andrews
From Goodreads: 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.
Ironically, the title of this feature would have the reader believe that books are always better than the film. In most cases, this is often true. When it comes to Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, I much preferred the film to the book. While the book has many enjoyable features, the movie is extremely well done and has brought life to the story.
I recently read Me and Earl and the Dying Girl and listened to the audio version of the story. There were some real laugh out loud moments in the book and I could easily relate to Greg, the main character. Greg is one of those guys in high school that is well liked, but never really fits into a particular group of friends. It is through Greg’s interactions with Rachel, the dying girl, and Earl that Greg suddenly realizes the importance of friendship.
Unfortunately, this is where I start to lose interest in the book. Now don’t get me wrong, the storyline and characters are very well developed. It is the vulgar content and language in the novel that really turned me off. I will concede that this is a young adult novel and there are young adults who act and speak with great crudeness. I, however, found it to be a bit over the top and it actually lessened my enjoyment of an otherwise fantastic book.
The screenplay for Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is written by the author of the book, Jesse Andrews. I was actually a little apprehensive about whether the movie was going to be as crass as the novel. Trust me when I say that I was completely in love with this film and pleasantly surprised. The vulgar language from the book is almost non-existent. Also, Thomas Mann portrays Greg so well and he really seems to bring Greg to life in this movie adaptation. The humour from the story jumps to the screen so perfectly and I found myself laughing and engaging with the movie more than I had with the book.
Although the novel, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl did not capture my heart, the film adaptation was full of fun and quite endearing. I highly recommend this film to anyone looking for a humorous coming of age film. If you can stomach the rudeness that the novel contains, you may find that this is a book for you. This is one case, however, where I believe that you should skip the book and head straight to the box office!