Me, Earl and the Dying Girl (2015) – Film Review

Oh man, I can’t believe how emotional this film made me! Jeeze, I was actually an emotional wreck! I have to be honest though this film wasn’t one that I was dying to see, I only really watched it because I was home alone and a little bit bored… I didn’t really know what I was expecting, but I really enjoyed it!

I don’t want to describe the plot too much because Amy did a beautiful job in her book review of this story, so if you want to see a more detailed description of the story I will leave the link here, trust me it’s a really good review! But briefly, this story is about an ordinary teenage boy, Greg, who only really has one friend, Earl. However, his mother forces him to hang out with this girl Rachel who has just been diagnosed with Leukemia and they form an unexpected friendship.

The whole film is narrated by Greg, with little annotations, which I assume were chapters in the book? Anyways, I really liked that idea and I felt, as an audience, very included in the story. From what I can gather from Amy’s fab book review the film is pretty true to the book. It was well made in terms it really felt like a real teenager’s point of view (speaking from experience here), although I do have one question… is American high school really like that? It looked like a jungle and much more intense than high school here in England, or was it seriously exaggerated?

From Amy’s description, the characters seem a little different than in the book. Greg seemed pretty similar, just less interested in girls ‘and stuff’ in the film. I did feel as though I could relate to Greg through his self-confidence, I liked that this film showed a guy struggling with confidence issues and not just girls, a breath of fresh air, I liked it. He was also superbly acted by Thomas Mann, actually, all the acting in this film was brilliant, there weren’t many faces that I recognized, except Connie Britton who played Greg’s mum. I loved the actors in the principal roles such as Olivia Cooke who played Rachel and RJ Cyler who played Earl. I actually really liked Earl, I think he must have been played in more of a favorable light than in the book, but I thought he was really honest and funny!

I really liked the humor in this film, although it is technically a ‘Cancer Story’, it really did make me giggle, although sometimes I wasn’t sure whether I should be laughing? Also, another thing I quite liked was that it felt like a (well made) home video, I think this was because Greg was constantly narrating, so it felt like one of his films, which was pretty cool. The only criticism I have, and it is pretty small, is that I didn’t feel as though the continuation was great, I mean it wasn’t bad, but at some points, I felt like I was missing something?

The best thing about this film though is the portrayal of cancer and its effects on the sufferer and the people around them who love them. It was realistic, emotional and very close to home. There was a quote in the film that really resonated with me, I can’t remember it exactly so I’m quoting this from Amy’s book review … you can know someone is dying on an intellectual level, but emotionally it hasn’t really hit you, and then when it does, that’s when you feel like shit.” I cannot describe how much I understand this, I have felt exactly the same, cancer affects so many people so I won’t be the only one who understands this. There aren’t many films that can touch me personally but this one certainly did.  

I really enjoyed this film, it was such an emotional roller-coaster, it’s a great book if you’re in the mood for a laugh or a good cry! I’m going to give this 4/5 stars, I really enjoyed it.

All I Know Now – Carrie Hope Fletcher

This is probably one of the most helpful books I have ever read. It is full of great advice on growing up and gives you some big sisterly advice that I really needed to hear.This was written by one of my most favourite Youtubers, Carrie Hope Fletcher or ItsWayPastMyBedTime, unlike some of the books written my Youtubers, I genuinely bought this book to see if it would help me in anyway… and it certainly did.

For those who don’t know, Carrie is a very talented singer who is currently playing Eponine in the very successful musical Les Miserables (and wow she can sing!), with her very busy schedule she manages to make AMAZING Youtube videos and now she’s managed to write a book! Where does she find the time?!?This book is a teenage handbook to try and make this confusing and complicated part of our life seem a little more straight forward, and to help us not make the same mistakes as Carrie did.

I really did learn a lot from this book, I just wish I had it when I was about 11 or 12 and not 17, so that the previous 6 years could have been a little less bumpy! This book was kind of like a warm hug, gently telling me that everything is going to be okay, and that the teen age is survivable (amazingly). It was like true and honest big sisterly advice, and being born with an older brother instead of an older sister, this advice was much appreciated! It was really colloquial to read, it was almost like a humongous blog post (and I think it’s pretty obvious as to how much we all love blogging!) and because it was so casual it really felt as though she was talking to you personally. There were many British-isums though that I’m not sure people in other countries will understand, but, to be it made it feel really friendly.From Carrie’s videos, I felt like I knew her anyway, but now I feel as though we’re genuine friends even though we’ve never met.

Another thing that I really love is that it is full with really cool little quirky drawings (Drawn by Carrie herself, I swear is there anything this woman can’t do? Eternally jealous!) They’re just super cute and really reflect the chapters and everything they represent. Some of the chapters in this book include help with love, school, that school bully, and just life in general. It’s just so bloomin’ helpful! It’s also filled with funny, heart-warming and heart-breaking personal stories that will really make you think your teenage years were a little paddling pool, compared to Carrie’s Atlantic Ocean, it honestly puts everything into perspective.

There is so much I could say about this book and so many amazing aspects, but I don’t want to waffle on… I just really enjoyed this book, I have actually decided to make my future children (if I have future children that is…) read it because it will make their teenage years feel so much less daunting and scary. Although it wasn’t the fastest read for me, as I’m more of a fast pace, high action book lover, it was a real worthwhile read that anyone will benefit from reading!

I’m going to award it 5 out of 5 stars, it helped me a lot, thanks Carrie.

The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini

I probably wouldn’t have read this if I didn’t have to. This book is my one of my exam texts for English (and also my co-blogger’s, we happen to be in the same class). That being said I still really enjoyed it, it was so beautifully written by Hosseini and a really touching story. Although I did find this book quite hard to crack open and read when I didn’t have to, and I’ll be honest if I didn’t have to finish it before the end of the Christmas holidays, I would probably only be about half way… but this is probably because I knew what happened as I have seen the play. So if you read it you may think differently and find it difficult to put down.

The book is about a young boy’s story. This boy’s name is Amir and is growing up in Afghanistan in the 1970’s before the revolution. Early in his childhood a devastating event changed him forever.This is a very hard book to describe whilst not spoiling it, and trust me you do not want this book spoiled or it will change your perspective of the plot entirely.

If I didn’t already know the story I would have whizzed through this book as there are so many twists and unexpected changes. This book also happens to be tragically sad, it’s so tragic that it almost seems unrealistic, but what saddens me most is that things like this do happen in Afghanistan and we only ever hear about on the news, as that is our main source of information, but this is watered down and easy to distance yourself from. But when reading this book it places you right in the middle of the action so you can experience the horrors first hand.

This book is breath taking and really moving, but you’re going to have to read it yourself to really understand what I’m chatting on about… and if you do, have some tissues ready…

I don’t really know what else to say, apart from that it really sent me through a whirlwind of emotions.

I’m going to give this book 4 out of 5 stars * * * *, I might be being a little harsh but I dropped a star because I found it difficult to read, but that is all…

The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold

I have to be honest I only read this because my co-blogger and I are studying it for our AS level English and we had to finish it before the end of half term. I had heard of this book before I was assigned it and I had seen the trailer for the film, but I had never got around to reading the book off my own bat, although in time I’m sure I would have. I really liked the concept and the idea surrounding this story, it was really interesting and I felt it could change course at any moment which did make me concentrate whilst reading (a tough thing to do if you ask me)

This is quite a famous book so I’m sure most of you have heard of it or seen the film, but for those who have no idea, the book is based around a young girl named Susie Salmon who is murdered at the age of fourteen. Being brutally forced from this world, Susie watches her family from her position in heaven, being ripped apart as they discover her disappearance and piecing together the little clues they have of her murder. You as the reader are Susie and so know her killer, which is honestly is the most frustrating thing ever, as you watch her killer roam free unable to be prosecuted. But it also has the potential to be seriously tense at times.

I did like this book, it was interesting and at times had me on the edge of my seat. However, being rather simple minded, I got confused on quite a few occasions. Now this does happen from time to time when reading books, but I have to admit this book broke the record for the amount of times I was baffled, and that kind of annoyed me, quite a bit actually. I liked the ending to this book, I felt as though it summed up the story and everything that had happened during its course nicely and I closed the book smiling.

I’m sure lots of you know by now that I slightly judge the book on how quickly I finish it, however my finishing of this book was corrupted by sixth form and the sheer amount of work I have. As a consequence it took me quite a while to finish this book, although given the time I’m sure I would have finished it in a flash. Overall I really did like this book but I was confused a lot and it was a little dull at points, although the tense parts certainly made up for that! For the star rating I’m going to give is a 4 out of 5 stars * * * * I enjoyed it and I would recommend it for readers over the age of 15 (WARNING: there is explicit content)

If You Find Me – Emily Murdoch

I’m not quite sure how to start this review sooooo, Hi. How ya doing? I’m good but slightly emotionally unstable because of this book. Yes it’s one of those. After I finished this book I sort of wondered around thinking about life in a somewhat of confused state, I have to admit, major book hangover…

After buying this book on a whim I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it but also how much it affected me. I read this book during the process of flying and also that first day of holiday. I usually read books pretty fast on holiday anyway but I read it in something like a day (or maybe 2, I don’t have superpowers, unfortunately) any way I usually judge a book on how quickly I finish it and so on my standards this was blimin’ good!

This book revolves around a young teenager named Carey. For as long as she can remember she has lived in an old caravan in the heart of the woods with her silent six year old sister Jenessa and her drug and alcohol addicted mother who is away for months at a time. This is her home so when strangers turn up one night, she doesn’t really know what to do and is terrified that they will find out their secret and the reason for Jenessa’s silence.  Can’t say much more without spoilers, sorry folks…

I just couldn’t stop reading this book and I absolutely loved it from cover to cover, there was literally nothing I would change, although I have to admit it does get a bit heavy with the subject matter so younger readers please be warned…

Honestly this book was perfect and I absolutely loved it! I’m going to award it a massive 5 out of 5 stars * * * * * a beautiful and heartfelt story that I couldn’t put down.