Me and Earl and the Dying Girl Jesse andrews

Genre: Fiction

Book Cover

Author Biography:

Jesse Andrews is a novelist and a musician. Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and is a graduate of Schenley high school and Harvard University. He has worked as a tour guide, travel writer, and as a receptionist at a German youth hostel. Andrews has lived in Spain, Germany, Massachusetts, and New York. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is his first published novel.

Jesse Andrews


The novel, "Me and Earl and the Dying Girl" takes place in several different settings. One of the places that the story occurs is in the Gaines Family Home. Greg and Earl spend a lot of time as children in the Gaines home watching films and creating their own. Another place where the novel takes place is in their high school, they tell many crazy stories of things that have happened in that school. A third place mentioned is the hospital where Rachel receives her chemo therapy and is finally given the chance to watch some of Greg's films. Where the biggest part of this novel takes place is in Rachel's house (specifically her bedroom) where her and Greg's friendship is formed.

Rachel's room in the movie

Plot Summary:

Greg Gaines, an awkward teenage boy is going through high school as invisible as he can. His "coworker" Earl and him have a passion for filmmaking. His mom forces him to become friends with "cancer girl", Rachel and a friendship is born. The whole filmmaking thing comes in handy.

Main Characters:

Greg Gaines: Greg is an awkward, lanky, teenage boy and he loves to make films. He doesn't like to contain himself to one social group so he just has mutual things in common with all of them. He loves making jokes that make people laugh but sometimes the joke outcomes can be awkward.

Rachel Kushner: Rachel is shy, but not too shy, so that makes her a good listener. She is diagnosed with stage four Leukemia in the book and has to go through rounds of chemo therapy. She is easy to get along with and she has a contagious laugh.

Earl Jackson: Earl had/has a rough upbringing as a kid. His parents are rarely if ever home and when they are they stay upstairs and while him and his several brothers remain in the basement. The house is full of boys and it isn't very clean, most of the time the boys are playing video games or fist fighting. Earl loves to crack inappropriate jokes and he has been cussing since he could talk. He is Greg's bestfriend and he also loves making films.

Dr. Marlin Gaines: He is Greg's father and a college professor with a lot of down time. He is described as "weird".

Marla Gaines: She is Greg's mother and an "ex-hippie". She is very Jewish. She is opinionated and strong willed and she gets what she wants.

Cat Stevens Gaines: The Gaines families cat that is mentioned several times and used in several of Greg and Earl's films.

Madison Hartner: The "hottest" girl in their high school. She decides to become friends with Rachel and gives Greg the idea to create a film about Rachel


The main themes of this novel are insecurity and self absorption. Greg learns in the book that all of his insecurities are caused by how absorbed he is with himself. He learns that until he puts his own small anxieties into perspective he won't truly see how much easier his life is than the lives of those around him. He isn't able to fully enjoy his life until he sees that he has it pretty easy. In the beginning of the novel the author shows how it feels to be socially awkward and how horrible it is to feel unpopular in high school and Greg is sympathized. As the novel moves forward it is revealed that Greg's problems are so small in the scheme of things and the author loses sympathy for him. Finally Greg realizes that his small problems will go away and his friends life problems may not.

Rachel loves to read

Primary Conflict:

The primary conflict in this book is that early on one of the main characters is diagnosed with stage 4 Leukemia.

Rachel and Greg in the hospital on prom night.

Quotes From The Book

In chapter 13 of the book on page 112, Greg says, "The best ideas are always the simplest." This is important because it sets a new tone for the story. It shows that he doesn't need to complicate anything and just go with his heart.

In chapter 39 of the book on page 276 Greg says, "There was just something about her dying that I had understood but not really understood, if you know what I mean. I mean, you can know someone is dying on an intellectual level, but emotionally it hasn't really hit you, and then when it does, that's when you feel like crap.."This quote is important in the book because it shows that Greg's views have changed and that he begins to understand what it's like to have a friend and he doesn't want to lose that.

Greg, Rachel, Earl


  • Inexplicable: Impossible to explain
  • Hierarchy: A system of things ranked against each other
  • Perpetrator: Someone who commits an illegal crime
  • Genuinely: Real
  • Initiative: A beginning act or step
The friendship bond that they create is unbreakable.

Book Evaluation:

I would definitely recommend this book to someone who enjoys comedy and a little bit of heartbreak. This book is very different than most. The author doesn't over dramatize the situation (it's actually under dramatized) and the simplicity of the book makes you want to keep reading. The three words I would use to describe the book are transforming, eye opening, and simple. This book is a great read.



Callie Phillips, 3rd Period


Created with images by Eric M Martin - "Dreary Day"

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