Will Grayson, Will Grayson

willgraysonWhen two people have as much talent as John Green and David Levithan, when they have so much fun doing what they do, and you combine that with humor, wisdom, sarcasm, and an eye for seeing the truth and the fearlessness to tell it in just the right way, well, you get something spectacular.  In 4 words, you get: Will Grayson, Will Grayson.

When David Levithan was at PBC last year for a dinner with local educators, he shared some background about how this book came to be: the funny coincidences of having another person whose name is almost the same as yours and what happens when your lives intersect (David Leventhal) and his and John’s friendship and desire to write a story about 2 teens with the same name.  From that moment on, I was hooked and waited intently for the final book to appear.  I gobbled it up in one sitting, and my reading notes are filled with words like “moving”, “hilarious”, “painful”, and “honest.”

The idea is simple:  2 teens living in the Chicago area have the same name and the book alternates between each Will narrating his own story.  The first Will Grayson we meet lives in a well-to-do suburb north of the city, is something of a social misfit (by choice and coincidence, it seems), and his best friend since fifth grade, Tiny Cooper, is, according to Will: “the world’s largest person who is really, really gay and also the world’s gayest person who is really, really large.” Will lives by 2 simple rules: “1. Don’t care too much 2. Shut up. [Because] everything unfortunate that has ever happened to me has stemmed from failure to follow one of the rules.”  The second (or other) Will Grayson lives in a run down apartment with his divorced mother far outside Chicago and is isolated, depressed, secretly gay and full of self-loathing.  Lured to Chicago to meet an internet-faked boyfriend, Will meets Will in a porn shop off the Miracle Mile.

As the Wills’ lives intersect and connect, Tiny Cooper is the magnetic center.  It’s through their relationship with Tiny that both Wills, and the other characters, awaken, grow, and are made real.  Throughout the novel, Tiny is writing and producing a musical extravaganza that starts out about his life, but ends up being about love (and friendship); and in many ways, it’s the ultimate mirror to this well-developed, interesting, quirky collaboration of a novel.

  • Posted by Cori

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *