Sunday, May 8, 2011

Will Grayson, Will Grayson

Written By: John Green & David Levithan

Will Grayson, Will Grayson, written by John Green and David Levithan, is a realistic fiction novel about two boys, both named Will Grayson, attempting to find their place in the world as they both struggle through high school.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson, is written with a unique format and style.  I cannot think of any books that I have read that are written by two different authors.  Green and Levithan decided to each write half of the book in alternating chapters.  They even split the title—with John choosing the last name of Grayson and David choosing the first name of Will.  John Green wrote the perspective of Will Grayson, the teenager who wanted nothing more than to blend in with his surroundings, but could not possibly do so while being best-friends with Tiny Cooper who is, “Not the world’s gayest person, and he is not the world’s largest person, but I believe he may be the world’s largest person who is really, really gay, and also the world’s gayest person who is really, really large.”   David Levithan wrote from the perspective of the other Will Grayson—the one who was sad, depressed, and dealing with his homosexuality.

David Levithan’s writing style is particularly interesting.  Levithan writes the entire narrative without ever capitalizing a single word.  I believe this helps readers to sense Grayson’s depression—that he is so indifferent to feeling that he does not even bother to use the shift key on the computer.  Levithan, for the most part, does not have Grayson interact with others, which authenticates his loneliness.  The most social communication Grayson has is through Instant Messenger or Facebook and is with a boy named Isaac that he has never met.

John Greene presents his Will Grayson differently.    He incorporates a lot of dialogue between Grayson, his best friend Tiny, and a girl named Jane.  Grayson does seem as though he is trying to find his place in the world, but is not as depressed as the other Grayson.  Grayson abides by two simple rules: “1.  Don’t care too much, and 2. Shut up.  Everything unfortunate that has ever happened to me has stemmed from failure to follow one of the rules.”  Throughout the story, we witness how these rules affect the relationships between Grayson and his peers and how he starts to realize he needs to change his rules if he is going to survive through life.

Finding your place in the world is something that I think all teenagers can relate to.  Regardless of whether or not you are the football captain, head cheerleader, chess extraordinaire, thespian, prep, nerd, etc., everyone in high school struggles to figure out what they really want out of life.  It is all a part of growing up and enables us to be ready to move on when the time comes.  The story can also provide hope for those who are lost.  Both Grayson characters developed throughout the course of the story.  They realized that life did not have to be so difficult and that having good friends was more important than anything.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson received the 2011 Stonewall Honor Award in the category of children’s and young adult literature.  The Stonewall award is presented to books that have exceptional merit relating to the gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgendered experience.  This book certainly took me out of my comfort zone in terms of books that I typically choose to read and I must admit, that it was difficult to get through the first section of the book because quite honestly, I couldn’t handle all of the negativity and moodiness.   As the story progressed and I got to know the characters and their perspectives better, I enjoyed reading the book and looked forward to how it would end.  Greene and Levithan brought to light the realities that young adults face today and the determination and support needed in order to make it through what can be some of the most difficult years of their lives.

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