Title: Will Grayson, Will Grayson
Author: John Green and David Levithan
Publisher: Penguin Books
The plot centers around two very different Will Grayson’s coming together and the crossing of their paths. We get to see their lives before and after – how they have changed. There’s enough obstacles to keep you reading to the last page in what is (without giving any spoilers) a spectacular conclusion to a funny, sad and poignant story.
I liked the experimentation of two distinguished writers coming together to write two very different characters with the same name. Green’s Will, while at times funny, feels a bit stilted and comes off a bit like Green’s previous narrators (Colin in An Abundance of Katherines and Miles/Pudge in Looking for Alaska). Sure, the stories are different but the voice feels similar though his Will exhibits more personality than his previous narrators:
- “[M]y head is thrown back against the seat. Jane drives like Tiny dates.” (49)
- “Dear Jane, Just so you know: e.e. cummings cheated on both of his wives. With prostitutes.” (137)
Levithan’s Will is aggressive in how he narrates but I like that. He has more of the funnier lines of the two Wills:
- “i am constantly torn between killing myself and killing everyone else around me” (20)
- “i thought i was going to be early but of course by the time I get near where we’re supposed to meet, i’m later than a pregnant girl’s period” (104)
The chop and change of narrative voices and each character’s individual feelings and obstacles keeps the narration alive and the story easier to absorb and enjoy.
I LOVED the characters in this novel. They all shine in their own way. For a novel named after the two Will’s, it’s ironic that Tiny emerges as the star of the novel. Tiny steals every scene he appears in and his musical at the end of the novel is EVERYTHING.
Quality of Writing:
I liked the two different perspectives. Both narrative styles are blended expertly that you’d never suspect it was written by two different authors if you weren’t informed. Each author knows their character – his problems, his fears and his hopes. This comes across strongly in the plot and both immerse us and slice the information into the story, dramatising much of the detail.
Based in Chicago, the detail comes at us, not in long, tedious paragraphs, but rather, it’s sliced into the scenes so you know where you are and what you’re seeing without actually being taken out of the scene.
I can’t really compare it with other LGBTQ books. Doing so would pidgeon-hole this book and it’s more than any one thing. The quality of the writing is incredible and the dual narration is genius (not to mention consistent). I could compare it to Levithan’s Boy Meets Boy but this book goes beyond Levithan’s previous titles and the narrative experimentation by Green and Levithan really makes this an unusual and unique read.
NOW SKIP TO THE GOOD BIT…
- Great experimentation of narrative
- The story takes you on the rollercoaster highs and freefalling lows of each Will
- Funny characters that will have you LOL-ing on the bus (if you’re unfortunate enough to ride the bus)
Books You May Also Like:
Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan – for another funny story that will have you at the edge of your seat and make you laugh