Published April 6, 2010
Publisher: Dutton Children's
One cold night, in a most unlikely corner of Chicago, two teens—both named Will Grayson—are about to cross paths. As their worlds collide and intertwine, the Will Graysons find their lives going in new and unexpected directions, building toward romantic turns-of-heart and the epic production of history’s most fabulous high school musical.
Hilarious, poignant, and deeply insightful, John Green and David Levithan’s collaborative novel is brimming with a double helping of the heart and humor that have won both of them legions of faithful fans.
(Originally Read: April 2010)
Wow! What did I just finish reading? I don't know whether to cringe, cry, walk away baffled, or sing from the top of the mountain in a musical-esque crescendo BRILLIANT! The writing was refreshing, edgy, raw, and offensive at times but never off the mark.
Okay, how do I explain this book without mucking it up? Here is my attempt: Truly a honest and thought-provoking portrayal of two very confused and angsty teenage boys, both named Will Grayson who are just trying to figure out who they are and ultimately crossing paths in the least likely of scenarios. I started laughing from the first page and continued to laugh out loud throughout the story, but not without its occasional but constant tangents of sad and revealing moments and ultimate heart changing conclusion. This book covered the gamut of teenage struggles, including homosexuality, depression, love, loss, true friendship and painful self-revelation.
The first Will Grayson, who I will refer to as WG#1, was my favorite as he’s the hilarious, self deprecating typical of John Green’s likeable characters. His motto in life is don't care… and shut up. But that can only last for so long. His best friend, Tiny Cooper, is a 300+ pound, gay guy who is constantly challenging WG#1’s feelings and adding a fair share of struggle into his life. WG#1 has some very revealing moments that come across as valuable lessons, some of them profound and others... well kind of gross actually. My favorites were You like someone who can't like you back because unrequited love can be survived in a way that once requited love cannot. and You can pick your friends, and you can pick your nose, but you can‘t pick your friend‘s nose.*LMAO and cringing at the same time* I loved his ten minute game of just the truth. Overall, his observations were hilarious and intriguing. In my opinion, he could do, say or feel nothing wrong, I just down right fell for this character.
Now WG#2, I struggled with him a bit. I couldn't really relate to this character... well for obvious reasons, primarily him being a snarky, twisted teenage boy, but at minimum I was hoping to develop some level of compassion for him. That took some time for me, but ultimately it did occur; the first of which came when he met Tiny and his internal self-revelation helped me understand his dark side. His humor was completely different from WG#1 as it was harsh, destructive, negative and sometimes just down right cruel. WG#2 has his fair share of life lessons that I felt were... well let’s just call them interesting, such as The things you hope for the most are the things that destroy you in the end. and his bird shite rule was kind of harsh, but funny. Overall, his moment of self-revelation was his turning point for me as he shared his hurt about his dad, depression, money struggles, and homosexuality. It was sad to see that all this guy ever wanted in life was a simple break, so you ultimately hope he gets one.
Okay lastly, why did I remove one a star? Two words... Tiny Dancer... Errrrr... Tiny Cooper.. okay that's four words and an unintelligible sound, but anywho... I could NOT stand him or his project/musical and his songs to me were crude. Tiny was selfish, self absorbed, exasperating and downright annoying. Despite his squealing to WG#1 that everything he did was for others, I did not buy it for one minute. Everything he did and said was to benefit him and his interests. How WG#1 remained friends with him simply baffled me. So minus one for a poorly developed character. But other than that perfect!
Overall, great story with some intriguing characters and thought-provoking material. The writing might be offensive at times and the foul language could come across as harsh, but it was truly well done. Hats off to John Green and David Levithan for this brilliant piece of work.