The Fault in our Books about Dying People

I love that nerds can band together to accomplish some pretty ridiculous things. For example, the Nerdfighters made John Green’s book about kids with cancer popular enough to become a pretty unusual movie.
The Fault in our Stars looks at the star-crossed love story from the inside. Unlike Romeo and Juliet, the lovers know they’re probably doomed right from the start, but they try to ignore oblivion and be all romantic and adorable. The story is certainly deep and thought-provoking enough to earn some acclaim, even without the Nerdfighters boosting it.
But then Me and Earl and the Dying Girl came out. It’s a book about a girl with leukemia and Greg, a boy who befriends her. It’s meant to be satirical, funny, and thought-provoking like TFIOS. It is none of those things. I couldn’t get more than a few chapters into the book. They made it into a movie, because it’s similar to TFIOS, and that one became a movie, so why not? I got through the end of the movie, but it’s not any good either.
Greg says the book will have a happy ending, because the girl doesn’t die in the end. Then the girl dies in the end. If that was supposed to be deep or clever, it fails horribly. Later, Greg’s friend Earl reads him the riot act for responding selfishly to the girl’s condition. The whole time Greg has been satirizing everyone else’s reactions to the girl’s mortality, so it should be good for someone to criticize his own reaction. But it comes from Earl, who has been given no credibility in the rest of the story.
Toward the end (of the movie at least), Greg shows the dying girl a film he made in tribute to her. He was forced to make it by everyone who thought the dying girl deserved a tribute. He wanted to make it as good as he could for her. What he actually makes is a chaotic mess that would kill an epileptic person. It’s stupid. It’s not funny at all.

Both of these stories consider mortality. Neither looks seriously at the concept of an afterlife or God. They just focus on the fact that people stop being in this world, and the rest of us need to live without them. There are deep truths to be found, but I recommend Truest by Jackie Sommers for better ones.

Let’s Connect!
@noahspud
@CorrelationBlog

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One thought on “The Fault in our Books about Dying People

  1. Hey Noah! I appreciated your thoughts here. You have a humorous tone that’s enjoyable to read. Further, I like what you have to say about grappling with deeper concepts. I actually found some of this grappling in reading TFIOS even though it was more implicit. Some of the dialogue between the two main characters had some interesting underlying concepts to them. As in many situations in life, I think conversations and actions could almost always go deeper as we push the boundaries of what we know, what we could know, and even what we can’t. (I appreciated your book suggestion at the end, too!)

    Like

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