Thursday, November 06, 2014

Audiobook reflection: Will Grayson, Will Grayson


Co-written by John Green and David Levithan, WGWG follows two high school boys both named Will Grayson, each of their narratives penned by one of the authors. By the second paragraph of the second chapter, I already was hooked by Will Grayson #1, and deeply loathed sailor-mouthed will grayson #2. (side-note: I listened to the audiobook, and so it's only now after reading the Wikipedia article that I've learned the second will grayson's name apparently never is capitalized). Despite my intense initial hatred of wg2, within short order the authors had captivated me, enthralling me in the emotional ups and downs of all the main characters, even beyond the two Will Graysons. The book particularly excelled at hilarious hyperbole: every metaphor surrounding Tiny Cooper (WG1's best friend) was delightful, to the extent of me giggling out loud more than a few times. Tiny Cooper, as you might expect from his name, is a physically ginormous human being, and the authors missed no opportunities to exploit humor from his gargantuan stature. Just one example: "I notice Tiny looking blankly at me, swaying back and forth like a skyscraper in the wind..." (31:35 in the audiobook).

Pencil-whipping here, but I'd argue one metric for defining whether a book is "good" ought to be: am I, the Reader, invested enough in the characters' lives that I care about what happens after the narrative ends? (coming to mind: Hazel Grace from The Fault In Our Stars yearned, longed, to learn the fates of her beloved characters from her favorite book, An Imperial Affliction). My answer here is: yes. If there were a sequel, I'd give it a listen. By the end even wg2 had weaseled his way into my heart. I was also proven wrong about Tiny Cooper, whom I'd initially pegged (and dismissed) as ΓΌber-annoying and one-dimensional; the boy has wisdom beyond his high school years. Oh, and one more thing about Tiny: through the WGWG book, he's busy producing (and eventually starring in) a musical about his life. Coming up in March 2015 David Levithan will publish "Hold me closer: the Tiny Cooper Story," the complete in-story musical, which should be entertaining, and also, an excuse to keep hanging out with these characters I've loved.

My favorite quotes

I don't really understand the point of crying. Also, I feel that crying is almost like, aside from deaths of relatives or whatever, totally avoidable if you follow two very simple rules. Number 1: don't care too much. Number 2: shut up. Everything unfortunate that has ever happened to me has stemmed from failure to follow one of the rules. - 4:05
And I say, "you can trust that caring, as a rule, ends poorly." Which is true. Caring doesn't sometimes lead to misery, it always does. "My heart is broken," Tiny says, as if the thing has never happened before to him. As if it has never happened before to anyone. And maybe that's the problem. Maybe each new breakup feels so radically new to Tiny that in some way it hasn't happened before. - 28:37
He's still looking at me quizzically, when, sounding stone sober he [Tiny] says, "Grayson, something needs to happen." And I say, "huh?" And Tiny says, "because otherwise, what if we just end up like everybody at The Hideout?" And I'm about to say "huh" again, because those people were far cooler than our classmates, and also far cooler than us, but then I know what he means. He means, what if we become grown-ups waiting for a band that's never coming back? - 31:00

And what I appreciated most of all, came in the authors' acknowledgements after the closing chapter:

We acknowledge that being the person God made you cannot separate you from God's love. - 7:50:22

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