Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, a comparison between the movie and the book.

There will be spoilers during the review, so if you haven’t read the book or seen the movie, avoid the paragraphs with spoiler-warnings. 

The book is written by Jesse Andrews and was published March 1st 2012. 
The movie was directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, written by Jesse Anrews and released June 12th 2015 in USA. 

Plot Summary
Book, taken 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.

The movie, taken from imdb: High schooler Greg, who spends most of his time making parodies of classic movies with his co-worker Earl, finds his outlook forever altered after befriending a classmate who has just been diagnosed with cancer.

A comparison

It’s always funny to watch a movie after you’ve read the book (or the opposite, although I prefer reading the book first) and you always end up with comparing the two of them, noticing the differences. Will the characters look like I imagined it? Have they changed the story? Have they changed the things I thought was important?

As I mostly read the book first, I end up having very big expectations to the movie. With that in mind, I was excited to see the movie “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl”, hoping I would love it just as much as I loved the book.

The book is written in “diary-style”, as if it is is the main character Greg who has written the whole book you have in your hands. I was excited to see how they would solve this in the movie because the reason to why the book is so brilliantly funny is the way “Greg” writes it.

He writes in a way that makes us get to know him in a wonderful way. He writes what he thinks in specific moments during the storyline of his story, and sometimes he for example set up the whole text as if it was a screenplay.

There are a lot of things in the book that works perfectly, because it is written the way it is.And since a book and a movie is two medias with a lot of differences, I thought this would be a hard part to solve in the movie.

 Would they be able to catch the essence of the story without using “Greg’s” special way of writing? Would we get to know him and the rest of the characters as deeply as we do in the book? 

So, did they solve it and turn out having a movie that lived up to my expectations after rading the book? 

It’s actually kind of hard to answer that, but I’m going to try:

First of all, the way they started the book was a good soloution to putting the movie as close to the book, with Greg writing the story. It was a good start. In the beginning of the movie, Greg did a lot of talking, and I immideatly felt that this was a good adaption, because they made it so alike, and making Greg tell us what happens was as close to the book you can get in a movie. So they solved that part pretty good.

Another thing I am very pleased with is the characters. I think every single one of them looked and behaved in the way I imagined from the book. 

The description of Greg is different in the book though. For example, he describes himself as a little fat in the book, while he is not that at all in the movie. But it’s okay, because they have really managed to capture his essence: His awkwardness, first and foremost, and also how he’s goofy, a bit different, a bit selfish, a little scared, and how he cares a lot more than he pretend to do.

There are differences between the movie and the book, and these differences make the movie somewhat a whole different story. It turns out as a completely different version, at least, all though the biggest things are the same. 

Some of the differences between the movie and the book (SPOILER ALERT).

In the book, Greg’s mother gives the movie about Rachel to a teacher, who decides to show it to the whole school. This turns out as a “disaster” according to Greg, because the movie is so terrible and people hate having to watch it, and also think it is something Greg and Earl chose to show to them to get attention.

In the movie, Greg is about to go to prom, but stop by Rachel at the hospital in stead and show her the movie. No one else but Rachel get to see it, and while watching it, she goes into a coma. This becomes a really touching, strong scene in the movie, but it never took place in the book.

The movie about Rachel is also different in the book. In the book, the movie has clips of everything they tried to do to make the movie, and they finish it with Greg and Earl filming themselves while telling her what she meant for them (wich turned out to be one of the examples in the book showing Greg’s character). 

What I think about the differences, and both the movie and the book (NO SPOILERS). 

There’s a lot of other small things that occur in the movie and never happened in the book, and things that happened in the book that never happened in the movie. Sometimes, that really doesn’t work out. But this time, it did. Although it kind of changed the entire “theme” of the story in one way.

The thing that’s so great about both the book and the movie, is that it is such a serious theme around it, but the story is still told in a way that really is “harmless” and mostly funny. 

We’ve already read the cancer-story. We’ve seen the movie about how horrible cancer can be. In both the book and the movie “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl”, we see it from the eyes of a teenager who struggle to find out who he is and what he’s supposed to do with his life. And we see what cancer can do with those who stand on the sideline.

And best of all, we see it in a real, unfiltered way that sometimes even can be funny. That’s what I love about both the book and the movie. But that’s also why I love the book the most.

Book or movie? 

In the book, the focus on Greg and his life is shown in the best way. The book shows in a much greater way how the story actually is about Greg and his experience of everything that happened. They do manage it in a good way in the movie as well, but not as much as they do in the book.

The movie is also sadder than the book. We get to know Rachel “on our own” in the movie, in stead of reading about her in Greg’s writing. This makes us closer to her in the movie than we do in the book, as it's easier to realise in the book that this story is really about Greg. In the movie, they've also included scenes where Greg get to know things about Rachel that were never mentioned in the book. 

Some of the scenes in the movie is also much more serious in the movie than what they are in the book (the book is serious at some points as well, but not as much as the movie). This leaves us with other impressions after seeing the movie than we do after reading the book, but I actually like that. 

So, my conclusion is: 
I think the movie is a really beautiful adaption of the book. The movie is indeed a little more serious than the book, and they’ve changed the story a little bit as well. I think it would have worked out good to not change the story at all, but the movie turned out very good even though they did it. A really positive about this is that when people ask this question:

Should I read the book even though I watched the movie? 
or the opposite: Would I want to see the movie after reading the book?

The answer is YES.

If you saw the movie, it will be worth your while to read the book, because the differences between the movie and the book is big enough to make you experience it as two different stories.

If you read the book, the differences between the movie and the book is not so big that you’re gonna feel that they ruined the story. But it will be a different version of it nonetheless.

Share this:

, , , , , , , ,



Legg inn en kommentar