Guest Reviewer: Ami (@mama_roach)
Having never read anything by John Green or David Levithan before, I was certainly shocked when I read Will Grayson, Will Grayson, and I don’t know whether in a good or bad way.
As the title suggests, there are two people called Will Grayson, who meet in an ‘unexpected’ place in Chicago; their paths cross and their lives change. The narrative stance alternates throughout the novel, which is something I loved from Nick Hornby’s About A Boy, as it shows the contrast between the two characters, but also changing as time goes on. Having Levithan-Will’s viewpoint written in lower-case was an interesting symbol of how his character feels lower status, but I much preferred Green’s Will, mainly because he didn’t want to kill everyone he met.
Tiny, despite the name, is a very ‘large’ character in the novel – not just in physical size, but his presence in the story did start to annoy me as I read further. I found him too selfish and over-powering at times and if you read the book, you will either love him or hate him. He is a necessary link for the two Wills, but the story wasn’t really about them in the end- it was all about Tiny.
I just didn’t ‘get’ the ending, which is a shame, because the writing is comical, edgy and at times, poignant. The weird ending spoilt it for me and so did some of the ‘wacky’ plot lines, such as Plain Jane’s unrealistic connection with someone from the world of fake ID and lower-case Will’s all-of-a-sudden friendship with Gideon. The writing itself made me feel like something was about to happen, but nothing much did in the end.
Although the story is about teenagers – who, by the way, are spoilt-rotten, made of money, get to go out all night and drive around in their parent’s cars – I wouldn’t want younger teens reading this. This is simply because of the grim depiction of depression, the futile bad language and the *ahem* sexual references. If Green and Levithan were trying to be ‘honest’ and ‘raw’, it made me wonder what life is like for teens in America! An unusual read, but overall fairly enjoyable, even if it didn’t have the same resonance for me that it would for other people.