This book was written by John Green and David Levithan. It follows the lives of two boys, both of whom are named Will Grayson. Both of the Will Graysons are not at high points in their life. One is friends with Tiny, his opposite and larger than life itself friend and would like very much to be in love with Tiny’s friend Jane (who may or may not be gay, he isn’t sure yet). The other Will Grayson is in love with a boy he knows on the internet. We follow the lives of these two boys separately until they’re thrown together by fate and many things change. Maybe for the better, maybe for the worse, most probably a little bit of each.
I was disappointed by this novel and give it 1.5 of five stars. I had initially heard many rave reviews and it was written by two authors whose works I usually enjoy. The person in question who lent me this book— telling me that I HAD to read it— is one that usually has the same book preferences as me. We had differing opinions on this one. She didn’t think it was their best work but she still felt it was a good book. I barely classify it as decent; both times I read it.
To make sure I gave it a fair chance I reread it before writing this review. However, even three years after first reading it, my opinion has not changed; it is not a good read. Don’t get me wrong, it had a lot of potential! I read the official summary and it seemed good. I liked the first few chapters and Tiny is without a doubt an amazing character. The issue is that I disliked everyone else, including both Will Graysons. All the characters remained two dimensional (2D) to me. I understood that they felt sad (they constantly reminded you) but they never explained how or why or made it understandable. It was always ‘you wouldn’t understand’ and ‘nobody gets me’. It felt angsty in a terribly draining way.
***PROCEED WITH CAUTION! SPOILERS AHEAD!***
The book as a whole feels like it is lacking direction and I feel like they chose poorly with their choice of main character(s). Here is why:
The only direction in the book is Tiny’s play. That is the only uniting goal and I quickly got sick and tired of everyone wandering around waiting for a miracle to get them to the next plot point. Tiny was the only character that was actively going after something and getting anywhere! Tiny’s play being preformed, after all his work, is what wraps up the book. It is what is used to mark the passing of time and events and it is the rock around which our mess of characters revolve. The first Will has a decidedly rocky friendship with Tiny. They are friends because there is no one else and why not. From the start, Tiny outshines Will and no matter what angle I try and take, I cannot convince myself that this was done with intent. If it were the second Will Grayson who was friends with Tiny and was outshined, that I could have accepted as a choice, since the second Will has depression and is not necessarily dealing with it well.
The second Will, however, is fated to live in depression with only Maura for company. Will makes it clear he doesn’t like Maura from the start and he only hangs around with her because she has coffee. Maura remains 2D, probably much in the manner she is in Wills mind. I am pretty sure that her only purpose is to be the bitch that gets Will to venture outside and consequently leads to him meeting the first Will. Everyone feels like a place holder and interesting only in how they move the plot forward. Nothing felt natural.
As for Tiny, I feel he would have been a better central character simply because he has more of an impact on both of the Will Graysons lives than any other character. Additionally, with the story’s main point of interest being his play (not to mention his life, which the play is based off of), I think Tiny is the only person suited to the job of telling us about the intersections of all these lives. Then again, they couldn’t have given the story from Tiny’s point of view (POV) because then we would not have had a story about two whiny boys who are so painfully predictable. (—SPOILERS (do note the sarcasm in them): Who could have possibly known that the first Will would decide he liked Jane despite knowing nothing about her!Who could have possibly guessed that the second Wills online boyfriend was fake!—) If the POV were Tiny’s we would instead have been graced with a story about a boy who struggled with being accepted at school for being gay. A boy who was aware that he was considered fat and that people laughed at the absurdity of calling him Tiny. We would have learnt about a boy who struggled with all these things but presented a happy face at school, even when the names and judgement hurt. We would have had a main character who, despite all that, was accepting of everyone and was working everyday on loving himself!
This book was frustrating but I digress. Any opinions, thoughts and/or feelings you would like to share? Anyone agree with me or have any arguments?