Thursday, July 1, 2010

Tag team writers

I just finished reading John Green’s latest Will Grayson Will Grayson. He co-wrote it with David Levithan (of Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist and Boy Meets Boy fame). I quite liked it. The character’s voices in the alternating chapters were unique and funny. Each author wrote from the perspective of a different Will Grayson. John Green maintained his realistic, flawed-but-in-the-best-way-possible protagonist, and strong, independent and beautiful girl who the protagonist falls for. I guess he kind of does this in every book, but for some reason it never gets old. The characters are so rich, it’s like falling in love for the first time every time. This is my first David Levithan read, and I found him enjoyable as well. Although his Will Grayson is written in all lower case letters, and I’m not a huge fan of that sort of thing (“that sort of thing” being altering basic grammar to show something. In this case it’s Will Grayson’s depression and poor feelings of himself, but Levithan does a fine job portraying that through his writing. He doesn’t need to get all fancy on us—but that’s just me). As we go through the story, we realize it’s not just about the two Will Graysons, but John Green’s Will Grayson’s friend Tiny. Tiny meets David Levithan’s Will Grayson and they start dating. Tiny, of course, is a very large man who happens to be writing a musical about his life. As we wind through the different relationships in the book, we get some coming of age drama/beauty (because aren’t all coming of age stories a little dramatic, but a little beautiful too?). We also get a peak at Tiny’s musical about himself, which turns out to be about love, and also turns out to be fabulous (or so we’re told). The ending, although quite monumental and satisfying, is also a bit of a stretch. I don’t want to ruin a minute of it, but it reminded me a bit about movies where the protagonist does something to stand up for himself, let’s say talk back to the school bully and have the head cheerleader admit that she loves him in the middle of the cafeteria, and then in a moment of Hollywood weakness, the entire cafeteria bursts into applause. I just don’t get those scenes. I’ve never seen spontaneous applause in anything other than an auditorium after a performance or particularly riveting speech, but never in a cafeteria. But I digress. The end of the book is a little spontaneous applause-y, but is still enjoyable. Just like watching the cheerleader hug the guy in the cafeteria is enjoyable. You know he deserves the applause, it’s just a little contrived. Wow, I had no idea this post was going there, but there you have it. The book is wonderful, as only John Green (and David Levithan by association) can be. I highly recommend it.
Plus the cover is fantastic—it’s like a throwback to the 70’s or something, I don’t know but it’s shiny and amazing. Not that it matters but it kind of does.

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