Saturday, May 01, 2010

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan

When the new John Green and David Levithan novel came out, I kept hearing how good it was. I am glad that I took the chance to buy it and read it soon after its release, though, because it lead to a buddy review with Nancy aka Bookfool. We each came up with 3 questions and answered all 6 of them. My answers to the questions are below, and you can go to Nancy's blog to read her answers.
One cold night, in a most unlikely corner of Chicago, two teens—both named Will Grayson—are about to cross paths. As their worlds collide and intertwine, the Will Graysons find their lives going in new and unexpected directions, building toward romantic turns-of-heart and the epic production of history’s most fabulous high school musical. Hilarious, poignant, and deeply insightful, John Green and David Levithan’s collaborative novel is brimming with a double helping of the heart and humor that have won both them legions of faithful fans.

My answers to the questions that Nancy asked me:

1. What other books have you read by John Green and/or David Levithan and how do you think Will Grayson compares?
I have read everything that John Green currently has out, including short stories, so it made sense to read this one, too, so I could say that I have read everything by him. As for David Levithan, I plan to read several of his books eventually, but as of yet have only read one book by him last year. I think Will Grayson, Will Grayson is still a well-written book like the others I have read by both authors, but it was the sort of book that I needed to take a few days after finishing to think about. And, really, that's not so different from their other books. When you finish them there is still a lot to think about afterwards.

2. There was one thing about the book that really, really annoyed me but which I eventually became accustomed to. Did anything about the book get on your nerves?
It took me a bit to get used to the sections where the Will Grayson writing them didn't use capitalization, or really any sentence structure at all. That writing method always bothers me, but you get used to it eventually. The ending annoyed me. I thought it was really rushed. And, sometimes the characters in general annoyed me, but that was almost to be expected.

3. What did you consider the main theme of the book? Do you think the sheer quantity of gay characters diluted the theme or made it more powerful?
I think the theme of the book was about acceptance regardless of your interests. It was talked about in the broader sense of the book, but also mentioned by the use of Tiny's play. I don't think the amount of gay characters necessarily was too much, but I also don't think that it seemed realistic to me. I could see the themes of acceptance a lot from both characters, but since I got that the story was about more than just acceptance of sexuality, then it wasn't necessarily to throw it in your face that there were a lot of gay characters. It was almost over-whelming, and yes, it could have diluted the theme of the book more than was necessary. I appreciated how Will Grayson #1 discovered that he was accepting in the case of his best friend, Tiny. Both Will Grayson's, though, had to also become accepting of themselves. I think that was important for the story.

My answers to the questions I came up with:

4. How did you feel when you finished the book? Has your initial reaction stayed the same, or do you feel differently about the book?
I didn't know what to think when I finished the book. I love John Green, and the one book I read by David Levithan was pretty good, too, but this book I didn't know how to get my head around. I think I was overwhelmed by everything that was going on and I wasn't entirely sure that everything worked well for me. I kept thinking about how it didn't seem to be as good as John Green's other books to me. Then, a couple days went by while Nancy finished the book and I got a chance to think about it a bit. Then, even more days went by before I am answering these questions, and I think I actually really liked this book. It was one that I had to think about and I think it was a good idea that I waited to write the review.

5. Which character in the book was your favourite? Least favourite?
I think my favourite character was Jane. She plays the straight Will Grayson's love interest and there was something a bit fascinating about her. Likely because of how the story played out around her. I also enjoyed Tiny. He annoyed me at times, but he made the book entertaining and I appreciated him as a character. I think the scene where he drinks a bit too much, though, was really unnecessary in description! As for least favourite, I think part of my hang-ups with this book is I didn't really love either of the Will Grayson's. It's not that I strongly disliked them, but more that they just didn't grow on me. We had a love/hate relationship the entire book and I think that is why it took me so long to find love for the overall novel.

6. What did you think about the ending? (Without giving too much away.)
I didn't know what to make of the ending. I thought since the entire book had been basically making its way to that point that it was too rushed, though. It sort of disappointed me that it wasn't drawn out a bit more. I found the ending touching, but I am not entirely sure I found it believable. It is just one of the things that I can't entirely make up my mind about, I guess.


  1. I felt the ending was rushed, too, but I disagree with you about the number of gay characters. The gay Will Grayson was the only gay person he knew about in his school, and one other guy came to him after he announced it. Tiny was gay and belonged to a very small gay-straight alliance, so you meet a couple of his friends there, but otherwise the people around him are straight. This isn't unrealistic especially if you are hanging out with people similar to your own situation. Of course there are more gay people around Tiny, since he himself is and is out looking for others. Just like the cheerleaders are surrounded by a proportionately higher number of other cheerleaders and so forth. In high school, I hung out with the 'gay crowd' and 95% of the people at my lunch table were gay (like 20 altogether). It was a huge school, though, and 20 in one section was not a big or unrealistic number. I thought the balance was well done, in opposition to, say, Boys Meets Boy, where nearly everyone seems to be gay in an idealistic world of non-hate.

  2. Loved you two's review :D And I totally agree with both of y'all on Jane! I loved her so much. The only thing I disagree with both of y'all on was Will #2...neither one of y'all seemed to like him too much, but I thought he was an awesome character!

  3. What Amanda said!

    Also, I'm happy to hear the book grew on you as you thought about it more. It really did on me too.

  4. Your questions and answers have done a great job of making the book intriguing to me, without giving away any important plot points. Thanks!

  5. Fantastic blog. Keep on rockin, Radu Prisacaru – UK Internet Marketer & Web Developer


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