06 January 2014

Review: Will Grayson, Will Grayson

I read a book!

Will Grayson, Will Grayson, by John Green and David Levithan.

Let's get this out of the way. I love John Green. I love everything he touches.  So, while I can identify some weaknesses of this book, I don't care. Sins forgiven!

That's not to say this a bad book. Far from it. I enjoyed the heck out of it, and not just the John Green parts, either. I've never read anything by David Levithan, but after this book, I will. (Ha. See what I did there?)

The book follows two very different teenagers named Will Grayson. Having each author separately write each Will in first person in alternating chapters was a great idea. I thought it was a unique way to tell two different stories in two different styles. It's clear the stories are connected and play off each other, but the inter-connectivity is subtle and didn't feel forced... for the most part.

Both Wills were interesting, well-rounded characters. John Green's Will, straight Will, felt very much like Green's other male protagonists. For some, like me, this is a good thing, for others it is a problem.  Sorry!

I don't know David Levithan's work, but his Will made me want to read more by him.  Levithan's Will starts out so realistically and authentically an asshole teenager that its quite an accomplishment to make me care so much about him and his journey. This Will struggles with his sexuality and depression in such an honest way. I haven't read many books with characters like this Will.

The lynch pin that holds the two Will Graysons' world together is Tiny Cooper, and while some may find him to unbelievable and over-the-top, rest assured that I have met Tiny Coopers. They are just as unbelievable in real life. However, without giving much away, while I understood Tiny's role in both Wills' lives, the ending didn't quite work for me. I don't think it ruined the book, but it didn't help it either.  I guess I just expected more, especially on Levithan's Will's side.

I found much to relate to in this book, from both of the story lines.  I've said before that John Green's books aren't FOR teenagers as much as they are ABOUT teenagers.  This book threw me back into my own high school years, and made me think a lot about the relationships and drama in my adolescent life. That being said, I don't know if I would have got nearly as much out of this book if I read is as a teenager. (This is a critique on me, not of the book.) I don't know if I would care about characters and situations that were so much like the daily life I was living. I didn't read YA when I was a YA, and I haven't read any outside of John Green, so how this - or any - YA book works with its intended demographic, I can't say.

Some other readers have questioned how realistic high schools are that are so tolerant of homosexuality.  I can't speak to how high schools are now, but it sure is nice to think that they could be this tolerant. Its not perfect for the characters in the book, its not a tolerant utopia. But for these characters, homosexuality is just another one of the things that must be navigated in high school.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson was pretty much what I expected, a funny, touching, quick read that made me recall my own teenage years. If you are John Green fan, this book will not disappoint. If you are not a John Green fan, I don't think this will change your mind. Your loss.

I hope this book will cross pollinate and help fans of one author discover the other. That's how it worked for

tl;dr: If you like John Green, you've probably already read this book.

01 January 2014

What You've Been Waiting For

For a long time - almost five years - I didn't do things, with people. There were many reasons for this, and not all of them were my idea, but that is a post for another day. Lately, I have begun doing some of the things again, with the people.  Its... odd. And a challenge. And pretty good. I think.

When I find myself in the company of like minded people, people who are into the same sorts of things I am, I get excited. Well, at least most of me does. But there is a little part that gets a little angry. Like, hey, this was my thing. I don't want to share it with you. You won't love it the way I do. It is what makes me feel unique and now you are taking it away.

I think this is where hipsters come from.

It's like with Doctor Who. I love Doctor Who, and while I can't say I have been a fan for decades, it became a very large part of my life when everyone around me had never heard of it. I liked Doctor Who before it was cool. (Ugh. I can't believe I said those words.) And now? Its a thing! A popular thing, even. And I like being a part of that. Except when I don't. Except when it feels a little less special because it can't be just mine anymore.

Things like Doctor Who are what nurtured me when I was pushed out of (or left) the company of other people. And so it is fitting that these things should help me reconnect and bond.  For so long I hoped I could be around people who speak in the same cultural dialect I do, and now that I just might be around said people, part of me wants to wrap my arms around my precious and scamper back to my cave. Its not a very big part, but it is there.

It is easy to read a post, or watch a video about something I love, and have it stoke the fires. Even though these posts or articles are created by real live people, its easy to believe its all just for me.  Sharing what is important to me with other people is important, unfamiliar and potentially terrifying.  And we are only talking about Doctor Who, and Cthulhu. What about real things? Things that matter?

What am I talking about? Nothing matters more than Cthulhu.


Hmm. Well. Okay. I guess that's how we are going to start things out.  Happy 2014. I'm assuming we'll see more of things like this.

I'm sorry.