Review: Will Grayson, Will Grayson

Will Grayson, Will Grayson
Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

One of the things I enjoy about John Green’s work is that he absolutely does not believe in the Hollywood ending. This isn’t to say he believes in sad, depressing endings, far from it, but he doesn’t believe in the ending we’d come to expect from non-genre YA books. The ending of a John Green book (I’ve read 2.5 so far – this one being the .5 since it’s a co-write) gives the characters a reasonable resolution while not catering to convention or kowtowing to convenience. The other things I enjoy about his works are the complexity and extra-dimensionality of his characters. Now, I’m not saying they’re perfect books, but as someone far removed from the lives and ages of his characters, I can find something in them to identify with.

This story of Will Grayson, Will Grayson revolves around the intersecting story of two Chicago area high school students called, you guessed it, Will Grayson. Their stories are told in alternating first person chapters by Green (odd) and fellow YA author David Levithan (even) and in the printed version, Green’s Grayson is capitalized while Levithan’s Grayson is not. The main crossover character who connects the two is Tiny Cooper, “the world’s largest person who is really, really gay” and “the world’s gayest person who is really, really large.” He is Grayson’s best friend and becomes a boyfriend to grayson. The book circles these various relationships and culminates in what, if it were ever staged, would probably be the most spectacular gay musical numbers since Neil Patrick Harris hosted the 2011 Tony Awards.

Along the way, the authors ruminate on what is love and what are the parent/child relationship responsibilities. They also nail some aspects of the high school experience (although, not having spent a lot of time in a public high school in a while, I do wonder if the hazing the characters experience for being “different” is a little too domesticated – when the leader of the jocks decides to try out for the Tiny Cooper written and produced musical he does it with no irony at all and seems to be immediately accepted and accepting of everything).

And while the high school students seem fully developed, the parents pick up the caricature slack. This may be because we’re seeing them through the eyes of their kids, but it’s still a bit disheartening that they are so cliché. Overall, it’s a good book, and one I’d highly recommend. I’d especially recommend the audio version, which is how I experienced it. The two Graysons are read by two different voice actors so when you have cross-over characters (Tiny Cooper for example) they each put their own spin on him. And they sing. The book includes the lyrics and descriptions of the staging of Tiny’s musical biography (in which he plays, naturally, Tiny Cooper, while the other main character is a thinly disguised “Phil Rayson”, much to Will Grayson’s chagrin) and the actors actually sing the songs! While your experience with audiobooks may vary, the added bonus of hearing the songs here is well worth it. And at just over 7 hours, it’s not a very large time commitment.

View all my reviews

Advertisements
Categories: Books, Reviews | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Post navigation

One thought on “Review: Will Grayson, Will Grayson

  1. Pingback: Margaret Talbot: How the Y.A. Novelist John Green Built an Ardent Army of Fans : The New Yorker | Getting the Hang of Thursdays

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

DLP Today

What's New, What's Next at Disneyland Paris

ALARA KARIS BLOG

Painting The World In Words

Daily Doodle

by PMu Ink

Curb Your Hysteria

Everyday musings, occasional hysteria

Recipe in a Bottle

Connecting to Friends, Old and New, Through Recipes, Gardens, and Dinner Parties

BluChickenNinja

I have no idea what I'm doing

Wizard of Pots

Exploring cooking for family and baby

Copper Leviathan

Writer, reader,student, oddball overall. Take a look at my blog, hope you like it!

%d bloggers like this: