I’m not sure how David Levithan went so far under my radar for so long. Seriously, I’ve read two books by him (with a third on my shelf) and I’ve seriously enjoyed both and it doesn’t hurt I pronounce his name Leviathan no matter how many times I read it. As for John Green, the only thing I know about him is that he wrote The Fault In Our Stars which until I finished this novel I’ve had no desire to even look into.
I can’t remember whose blog I saw this on, but I knew I needed to read it when I read the synopsis and I finally got a copy from my local library. It was a quick and hilarious read, even if I didn’t like the lack of capitalization in half the book which is funny as that’s the portion by Levithan. according to Wikipedia, they split the book evenly and it worked perfectly. The juxtaposition of the two styles and stories was perfectly balanced and the final scene had me in tears.
As with Levithan’s Two Boys Kissing I really appreciated the idea of teenagers beginning to comprehend something so much bigger than themselves. Where the two books differ is where Two Boys Kissing has a seriousness and weight about it, the weight of this book comes through its humor, seriously. I nearly spit my drink out when Green began to referring to a character as “Possibly Gay Jane.” In context it was just perfect. And then when Levithan conquered the idea of needing to get laid to solve one’s problems I almost lost it on the T. Seriously I couldn’t stop giggling:
“a fuck cure is like the adult version of santa claus.” (66)
But don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all lightness and humor. The way Levithan wrote about will grayson and his journey and eventual meeting of Will Grayson and Tiny was incredibly skilled and touching. I thoroughly appreciated Levithan’s frank and honest inclusion of a teenager diagnosed with a mental disorder and a single mother.
It also didn’t hurt that it was easy to identify with Tiny:
“do you think that there’s any minute in any day when i’m not aware of how big i am? do you think there’s a single minute that goes by when i’m not thinking about how other people see me? even though i have no control whatsoever over that? don’t get me wrong – i love my body. but i’m not so much of an idiot to think that everybody else loves it. what really gets to me – what really bothers me – is that it’s all people see. ever since i was a not-so-little kid. hey, tiny, want to play football? hey, tiny, you ever lose your dick down there? hey, tiny, you’re going to join the basketball team whether you like it or not. just don’t try to look at us in the locker room! does that sound easy to you, will?” (244)
I mean I’m neither as tall nor as big as Tiny was described, but I’ve always been taller and bigger than most everyone in my classes and I may not be the gayest guy out there, but it’s not that hard to deduce. When Tiny gave the above speech to will grayson and what happened afterward really struck a chord with me. Seriously, go read some of the quotes below!
Recommendation: How could I not fall in love with this novel. The grandiose closing scene, the ridiculousness yet truthfulness of the characters and brutally honest lines like “…you completely unscatter me, and i appreciate that so much.” (37), of course I would fall in love with it. I’m bumping up Levithan’s Boy Meets Boy and plan to read it between my re-read of The Two Towers and The Return of the King.
Opening Line: “When I was little my dad used to tell me, ‘Will, you can pick your friends, and you can pick your nose, but you can’t pick your friend’s nose.'”
Closing Line: “he may be heavy, but right now he floats.” (Whited out.)
Additional Quotes from Will Grayson, Will Grayson
“These people don’t think there’ anything wrong with me–they don’t even notice me. They assume I am one of them, which feels like the very summit of my high school career.” (13)
“i would give anything not to have to spend the next twenty minutes sitting across from her, because she doesn’t believe in letting silence go. no, she has to fill it up with talk. i want to tell her that’s what the voices in your head are for, to get you through all the silent parts, but she doesn’t want to be with her thoughts unless she’s saying them out loud.” (34)
“You like someone who can’t like you back because unrequited love can be survived in a way that once-requited love cannot.” (43)
“he is both the source of my happiness and the one i want to share it with. i have to believe that’s a sign.” (73)
“Every conversation I ever had with Clint or any of the Group of Friends is identical: all the words we use are stripped bare, so that no one ever knows what anyone else is saying, so that all kindness is cruelty, all selfishness generous, all care callous.” (77)
“the things you hope for the most are the things that destroy you in the end.” (126)
“when things break, it’s not the actual breaking that prevents them from getting back together again. it’s because a little piece gets lost – the two remaining ends couldn’t fit together even if they wanted to. the whole shape has changed.” (174)
“Not that smart. Not that hot. Not that nice. Not that funny. That’s me: I’m not that.” (192)
“I think about how much depends upon a best friend. When you wake up in the morning you swing your legs out of bed and you put your feet on the ground and you stand up. You don’t scoot to the edge of the bed and look down to make sure the floor is there. The floor is always there. Until it’s not.” (193)
“But such is life. We grow up. Planets like Tiny get new moons. Moons like me get new planets.” (224)
“need is never a good basis for any relationship. it has to be much more than that.” (249)
“‘When you date someone, you have the markers along the way, right: You kiss, you have The Talk, you say the Three Little Words, you sit on a swing set and break up. You can plot the points on a graph. And you check up with each other along the way: Can I do this? IF I say this, will you say it back? But with friendship, there’s nothing like that. Being in a relationship, that’s something you choose. Being friends, that’s just something you are.” (260)