Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan, copyright 2010.
Source: Personal Collection – Purchased New
Reason for Reading: Indie Lit Award GLBTQ Short List
I’m pretty sure I am the last person on Earth…or at least in the Book Blogosphere to read Will Grayson, Will Grayson and, to be honest, I probably wouldn’t have read it now if it hadn’t been for its making the GLBTQ shortlist for the Indie Lit Awards. I’m thankful it made the cut and was brought to the top of my TBR pile in such a hurry, because I thoroughly enjoyed it.
High-school life in Chicago: teenagers avoiding their emotions, struggling to discover who they are and will become, trying desperately not to make a scene while sticking out like a sore thumb. Will Grayson meet will grayson. One night in a seedy porn-shop in Chicago, two young men with the same name have a chance encounter (not that kind of encounter) This unexpected event will change the lives of both of these emotionally stunted boys and will help them to find love and greater personal understanding amidst the drama of Tiny Cooper, the most important man in both their lives.
Yes, I know, that’s a terrible summary of the book, but, as I said, I’m the last person to read it, so, chances are, you already know what it’s about. If you require a better summary, check out Amy’s review at Amy Reads or Adam’s review at Roof Beam Reader.
This is the first multi-author collaboration I have read. I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy it, but I think Green and Levithan did a wonderful job of putting the pieces together. The different writing styles help to give greater independence and distinction to each of the Will Graysons. In the end, I found I wasn’t a really big fan of the conclusion, which seemed a little too corny for my tastes, but the emotions this work elicited helped me to see beyond some of the flaws in the storyline.
I don’t know which author wrote little will grayson, but I thought this character was extraordinarily well written. Perhaps I felt that way because I was able to connect with the character in a way that was so very different than anything I’d ever experienced before. I know people are constantly mixing up empathy and sympathy (much to the chagrin of many) but I can honestly say that I indeed empathized with little will grayson. I started by sympathizing with him early on in the story and soon found I was able to predict his actions with remarkable accuracy probably because at one time I was that sixteen-year-old closeted kid in love. But as I read, each of the last ten years fell away and I became that kid again. And then, for a moment, when he discovers the truth about Isaac, I was little will grayson, I was overwhelmed with the raw horror and devastating heartbreak. That sounds strange I know, but I connected with this character in such a personal way. I, literally, had to sit back and take my mind away from the story for a moment. I had to remind myself that the events in the story were not happening to me and that will grayson was a fictitious character. I was shocked!
For that reason alone, I will forever remember this book. If, however, I were to set that emotional bias aside for a moment, I think I would see a work that was really quite average. While little will was written really well, the writing for big Will was nothing special and the plot, which was somewhat melodramatic in spots, seemed to me to be a bit outlandish.
And now, just one final thought: PLEASE, somebody tell me that when Tiny Cooper spoke, you too heard the voice of Cameron from Modern Family!!
RATING: Not Baaaaaaahd