Saturday, March 9, 2013
Review: Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan
Title: Will Grayson, Will Grayson
Authors: John Green and David Levithan
Rating: 4 Stars
what do i say about Will Grayson, Will Grayson that hasn't already been said before? on one hand, i am well aware that this novel has its fair share of flaws. i'll be the first to admit that john green writes very formulaic characters, from his dorky male single-child protagonist to the manic pixie dream girl he falls in love with. i'll also admit that the characters in Will Grayson, Will Grayson are often annoying, flawed, and highly irritating. its narrative style may grate on some readers, it is kind of hard to connect with at times, and the beginning is disastrously slow. yes, Will Grayson, Will Grayson has its flaws, i'll be the first to admit that, but it also has its own rare form of beauty, brilliance, and heart that in my eyes, more than makes up for any flaws that it might have.
Will Grayson, Will Grayson is the first novel i've read that has been narrated by two authors. it's also my first foray into the work of david levithan and i have to admit, i'm impressed. it's only my third john green novel and while i love his vlogbrothers videos, Looking for Alaska really didn't work me, despite my love for The Fault in Our Stars, so i was a little worried going into this. david levithan and john green have such distinct styles, though, and the combination of their two voices is just...magic. although john green's Will Grayson is distinguished by the capitalization in his narration, opposed to david levithan's will grayson whose narration reads much like this review (you wouldn't believe how hard it is not to use the "shift" key!), any distinguishing characteristics are completely unnecessary, simply because it would be impossible to get these two boys, who share the same name, mixed up.
Will Grayson, Will Grayson is your run-of-the-mill contemporary tale, but the night that Will Grayson meets will grayson, roughly a third of the way into the novel, their lives irrevocably change. Will Grayson is a nerdy, almost forgettable character who lives life not really caring by much. at first, Will Grayson seems rather bland and his narration is spiced up by jane, the girl he grows to appreciate and crush on, and tiny cooper, his best friend who is gay and really isn't tiny. at all. will grayson, on the other hand, is immediately a much more complex character than his counterpart. as a sarcastic adolescent who takes pills for depression, will fails to connect with the people in his life, with the exception of isaac, his online friend who will is actually in love with - and vice versa. will, however, has a girlfriend, maura, who he still hasn't come out to yet for reasons of his own and, needless to say, this causes quite a few difficulties in his life.
in all honesty, it's hard for me to put into words why Will Grayson, Will Grayson is such a fantastic novel. not only is it beautifully written, with profound statements dispersed between a very authentic teenage voice, but its ultimate message is incredibly moving. in some ways, this is less a novel about the two will graysons and more a novel about tiny cooper, the guy who keeps their lives connected. as i mentioned previously, Will Grayson, Will Grayson is not the kind of contemporary you immediately jump out and connect with. rather, what green and levithan attempt to do is convey the sense that although we all have difficult lives, many of us with problems that other people cannot even begin to understand, they are all real and problematic to us, no matter if there are starving children in africa with hiv/aids. while we cannot always reach out and understand others, we can appreciate them and what they do and that, sometimes, is more important than anything else.
in addition to conveying this beautifully, though, i loved the friendships throughout this story. first and foremost is the very complex, but sad, friendship between will grayson and maura. in all honesty, i'd love to see a sequel featuring her because, no matter how cruel her actions may have been, it is evident that she has a plethora of issues of her own to resort to such desperate methods in her life. most importantly, though, is the friendship between Will Grayson and tiny cooper, one filled with tiny lamenting over his ex-boyfriends as Will Grayson tags along. what neither of them understand is how important they are to one another and the realistic direction of their friendship, their gradual growing apart with time and coming back together with a deeper understanding, is the type of friendship we all experience, or want to experience.
just read Will Grayson, Will Grayson, okay? i know it has characters that can come across as incredibly selfish, but that's all part of their flawed charm. i know its characters may resemble other typical ones, but i promise you they all have one aspect of originality. i know it may seem as if you've read this story - the one about the gay couple, the one about friendship, the one about understand - before, but you haven't read it this way. you haven't read it written by these authors. although i had knocked off levithan's Every Day from my shelves, he's made me sure to pick up his other novels with this piece and john green? well, he always had my heart, but he'll have my money now too.