Welcome to another Joint Review and Discussion! Last time, we discussed Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone and our thoughts on angel literature and overly-attractive characters. This week we’re discussing Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan.
Dutton Juvenile, 2012
I’m so excited to make you talk to me about Will Grayson, Will Grayson. John Green and David Levithan collaborated on it, each writing alternating chapters, so I feel like a joint review is the most apt mode of review.
I started re-reading Will Grayson, Will Grayson in the Philadelphia train station on my way to New York. I had about 30 minutes to kill, so of course I got an Auntie Anne’s pretzel and lemonade (a combination I’ve loved ever since it was the only edible option at the mall where I once worked at a Waldenbooks in Ann Arbor). So, I’m sitting at this wobbly table, trying not to leave greasy finger prints at the top corner of every page and just laughing my face off, pitying the gormless masses streaming past who were not reading Will Grayson, Will Grayson and feeling pretty pleased with myself.
Of course, I was feeling quite sheepish about 20 minutes later when I was holding the book right in front of my face so that none of the adjacent Au Bon Pain customers could see me crying into my lemonade. Now, Tessa, as you know, I’m not much of a crier in real life (even though it seems like every book I’ve reviewed lately has involved me crying on a train), and it takes quite a book to make me both crack up and tear up! And I LOVE books that make me cry.
This is all to say: I have been trying to figure out how I would describe what makes the book so affecting for me. I mean, the writing from both authors is great, the characters rich and unique, and the story totally fun and charming. But what finally stands out for me (and makes me appear like a bipolar mess in public spaces) is Will Grayson Will Grayson’s mood.
I would think that because it’s written by two different authors and concerns two very different sets of characters, the two story lines would have different moods. But, even though Will Grayson the first (capital WG) is a go-with-the-flow, anti-drama sidekick type to Tiny, a falls-in-love-every-day, sings loudly, gay football player, and will grayson the second (lowercase wg) is a depressive malcontent who is “constantly torn between killing [him]self and killing everyone around [him],” the mood feels strikingly consistent between the two story lines (22).
It was like somehow the Will Grayson, Will Grayson mood, henceforth known as the WG2M, was so strong that it permeated the entire book, sucking everything into it (including me) like the borg. In a good way. No, a great way. Of course, the writing and the characters contribute to the mood and they are delightful.
From capital WG:
“I turn around and Tiny Cooper is crying huge tears. One of Tiny Cooper’s tears could drown a kitten. And I mouth WHAT’S WRONG? because Ashland Avenue is sucking too loudly for him to hear me, and Tiny Cooper just hands me his phone and walks away. It’s showing me Tiny’s Facebook feed, zoomed in on a status update.
Zach is like the more i think about it the more i think y ruin a gr8 frendship? i still think tiny’s awesum tho.
I push my way through a couple people to Tiny, and I pull down his shoulder and scream into his ear, ‘THAT’S PRETTY FUCKING BAD,’ and Tiny shouts back, ‘I GOT DUMPED BY A STATUS UPDATE,’ and I answer, ‘YEAH, I NOTICED.’ . . .
‘WHAT AM I GOING TO DO?’ Tiny shouts in my ear, and I want to say, ‘Hopefully, go find a guy who knows there is no u in awesome’ (15-16).
From lowercase wg:
“every morning i pray that the school bus will crash and we’ll all die in a fiery wreck. then my mom will be able to sue the school bus company for never making school buses with seat belts, and she’ll be able to get more money for my tragic death than i would’ve ever made in my tragic life. unless the lawyers from the school bus company can prove to the jury that i was guaranteed to be a fuckup. then they’d get away with buying my mom a used ford fiesta and calling it even” (23-4).
And when the two story lines come together delightfully in a porn shop, as these things always must, it feels, like, inevitable.
So, T, what about you? Did you find Will Grayson, Will Grayson as delightful as I did? What did you think of the mood? Who was your favorite character? Who do you think could play the characters if they ever made a movie, &c. Tell me EVERYTHING!