Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Will Grayson, WIll Grayson


4/5 stars

As a John Green fan, Will Grayson Will Grayson (Goodreads | Amazon) did not disappoint   It's witty, clever, neurotic and heartfelt, all the things we've come to expect from his novels.  A lot has been said about how John Green characters are always John Green characters.  True or not, here's the thing: I like John Green characters.  His Will Grayson is a nerdy everyman and I saw myself in him, especially in his flaws.

Also, on that note, John Green also wrote Tiny Cooper.  Or at least most of the Tiny Cooper portions of this novel.  With this being a co-authored book it's hard for me to really know who came up with what first.  Maybe John Green's main character is similar in voice and nerdiness to his other protagonists  but Tiny Cooper is like nothing I've read before.

Even though the book is titled Will Grayson, Will Grayson, Tiny Cooper is the king of this book.  Tiny Cooper is a special kind of character -- a super huge, super gay, super loud, SUPER character.  He just jumps off the page (doing jazz fingers in my mind). Yes Tiny Cooper is over the top, but that's what makes him Tiny Cooper and it's partially a defense mechanism to cope with being an openly gay athlete in high school (i.e. an oddity).

There are two Will Graysons in this book, straight Will written by John Green and gay Will written by David Leviathan.  It's nice to have two distinct voices, though I struggled with Levithan's style at first because the lack of punctuation.  I know it's artsy and stylistic but argh I like capitalization.  But I liked the two voices, liked that they were so different and the punctuation is just a personal thing and Levithan's prose is perfectly understandable.

To try to summarize this book feels ridiculous because what's happening is not really the message, but reveals what's actually important.  What you need to know is that Tiny Cooper is putting on a fantabulous musical about his life as a gay gigantic football player, straight Will Grayson is struggling with being a background character in the Tiny Cooper story (and really who hasn't felt like that?) and gay Will Grayson is struggling with coming out, depression and a whole slew of other issues.

When you look at the story you may think this book is all about accepting those who are different and having a big group hug both gay and straight people alike.  Really it's not.  Not to say that's not in there, but this book is about a different kind of love, friendship.  The word "love" is rarely used in the context of friendship and in most books romantic-love tends to sweep away friendship-love.  That alone made this book different.  So even though people might thing it's a John Green book, at least it's a damn good John Green book.

1 comment:

Robyn Jones said...

I loved this book too. Tiny stole the show completely. I read this a while ago and I still think about Tiny. I was really moved by the parents in this book. Usually we get absent or crappy parents and when Will is so upset, his dad has a sit down with him. I remember getting emotional that the kid had this amazing chance to be heard right when he needed someone to listen to him and his dad was the one who stepped up. (at least my mind recalls it all happening that way) Great review!
Robyn @ robgirlbooks.