Will Grayson, Will Grayson
John Green and David Levithan
Will Grayson, Will Grayson. New York: Dutton Books. 2010
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Audience: This book is written for a mature high school audience in grades 9-12.
Summary: In this book, there are two main characters, both coincidently names Will Grayson. The first Will Grayson is referred to in the book as o.w.g. or other Will Grayson. This Will Grayson is quiet and shy. He really keeps to himself and lives by 2 cardinal rules: Shut up and don’t care. He has a best friend named Tiny whom he wishes he could be rid of, but inevitably lives in his shadow…his very large shadow! The second Will Grayson is a pessimist. He’s gloomy about everything and everyone except his secret love, Isaac. In the book, he is sarcastic and cold but opens up to this incredibly soft and lovable side when Isaac comes online to chat. He is a loner in school and has no friends except the incredibly annoying Maura. It took one night and a series of unrelated events to bring both Will Grayson’s together in Frenchy’s, a local porn shop. As the story goes on, we begin to see how both Will Grayson’s come to terms with who they are and what they want. They start to understand the theme of love and truth; how it ties together, and what it means to each one personally both at the moment in time when they met and how it changed at the end of the book.
Themes: This book is about the coming of age of adolescents going through high school. There were so many times where the emotions were pulled one way then pushed back another way. It was very interesting to see how the authors showed what it was like, during these modern times, to be an adolescent in high school still trying to figure out who they really are.
Another theme I found catching my eye was that of relationships. Whether it be friendships or love interests, family or peer acquaintances, relationships were an ongoing theme from the very beginning until the very end. The story revolved around o.w.g.’s friendship with Tiny and his love interest in Jane while Will Grayson focused on his love interest in Isaac and Tiny and his relationship with his mother. Even though o.w.g. was completely embarrassed to be best and only friend’s with Tiny, he realizes at the end of the book how much his friendship really means to him.
Love and truth is a big theme for this book. Accepting yourself for the truth in who you really are and being able to love yourself for that truth. You can’t have love without truth, no truth without love. Love for the truth. It is greatly apparent how much love and truth mean to these characters throughout the book. At one point, Tiny even says he loves his body even if others don’t. He loves it for the truth in the fact that he is big. He’s big and full of love. O.w.g. throws out his cardinal rules and finally allows himself to feel love for Jane and Tiny. Will Grayson accepts himself for being homosexual and allows love into his life the second he met Tiny. Even if Will Grayson wasn’t in love with Tiny, he still loved and appreciated him.
Connections: All of these themes can be found in a high school near you! Okay all joking aside, I really do believe that you can find all of these themes in high schools across America today. I couldn’t help but laugh when reading Will Grayson and the language he used to express himself. He was brutally honest and sarcastic, often coming off as rude. His crude language was offensive and hysterical all at once. When I was in high school, people spoke just like he does. So it was easy to reminisce back to my high school years while reading his side of the story. I could really relate to issues of love and truth, relationships, and figuring out who I am because I dealt with those issues every day of my high school career. I only wish I would have read a book like this when I was in school so that I could have someone to relate to and learn from. The authors did a great job at capturing the high school atmosphere right down to the nerdy mathlete who pleasures himself to video game characters…oh high school.
Reactions: I really did enjoy this book a lot. I could relate to all of it. I didn’t feel in the least bit uncomfortable when the characters would talk about very intimate moments because even if such moments did not happen to me, it happened to others I was around. It was nice to read a book dealing with sexuality issues. I come from a very close-minded town where the parents would have never allowed books like this to get within 500 feet of their precious innocent children. Please. There was stuff like that going around that was hushed up as soon as it began just because if people found out, you were a permanent punching bag for the rest of your years in school. I hated growing up in a town like that. It was sad to see kids struggling to figure out their sexuality and not really being able to because as soon as a whisper was made about them questioning their sexuality, the punching would begin. You couldn’t be friends with one of “those” or you would be tormented right along side them. This book shows sexuality from different perspectives and it shows me that not everywhere was like Johnsburg, IL. A real eye-opener and something I could have learned many years ago when I really needed to learn that. I also liked how each chapter was a different Will Grayson. Will Grayson number two (homosexual Will Grayson) was my favorite character because I liked how he didn’t sugar coat anything.
Reception: I didn’t really touch on the fact that Will Grayson had struggles with depression in the book and how different it was to see how he expressed depression as opposed to others. Luckily, S.E. Smith does the talking for me in his online Book Review.
S.E. Smith Online Review: http://meloukhia.net/2010/04/book_review_will_grayson_will_grayson_by_john_green_and_david_levithan.html
One last review I looked over had touched base with one of my themes: love. I’m not sure who the author is for this review but I did like how the author had talked about love and how important love is to each character in the book. The author says love is the biggest theme and is ultimately what the story is all about. Loving not only others, but loving yourself.
The Booksmugglers Review:
Awards: New York Times Best Seller