As promised here is a book review of John Green’s and David Levithan’s book, Will Grayson, Will Grayson. I’ll be honest with you; this book took me some time to get into. I don’t know what it was specifically but I found that I would put off reading the book, perhaps, partly because I had quite a bit of university work to be getting on with and by the time I was free to read, I was far too tired. However, once I was free of exams and deadlines, I quickly started reading the book again and I can say that I absolutely loved it. This time, I tore through the book and finished it within two days.
The plot follows two boys who share the same name, Will Grayson. The first Will whose point of view is written in correct capitalisation, written by John Green, is a heterosexual male; who believes the best way to get through life is to be quiet. His best friend is Tiny (one of the best characters of this book!), this Will is a slightly awkward, blunt and hilariously sarcastic, who likes Jane Turner but is unable to express himself. This Will is a clear example of a teenager in school – he tries his best to ignore all the drama, pass his lessons, he is obsessed with a band named Neutral Milk Hotel, has a crazy, openly gay best friend, who is ironically called Tiny, despite not in fact, actually being Tiny and likes a girl he’s unable to tell openly. I loved this Will from the get go, his voice, though clearly very distinct from the second Will and though being quite blunt and crude when he wished, his voice was calmer, far less depressed and seemed to want to change the way he was (but then not want to out of fear, rejection, drama). I particularly liked his friendship with Tiny, they were quite different but they seemed to click. Tiny is a ball of energy while Will is not so much, Tiny loves to talk, laugh and smile, constantly falling in ‘love’ with other boys and telling Will about them. Will on the other hand wants to stay away from relationships. Tiny is part of the Gay Straight Alliance at their school and so is Will, Tiny wants to host a play and Will wants of part of it. The two, both opposites, bounce off each other and make an unlikely and somewhat toxic friendship.
Tiny Cooper is absolutely hilarious. I think everyone who has read this book, loves him. Tiny, not known to the reader at the start, becomes one of the primary focuses of the story. His battle with love and relationships is what fuels his play and energy. He realises that though he is constantly falling in ‘love’ with boys, he has never truly felt that he himself was loved back.
The second Will was blunt and dramatic, quite true of teenage mannerisms, which drew me in. I found myself laughing on the tube journey to university, much to the confusion of those surrounding me. This Will made me laugh and agree with him constantly, the battle that homosexual teenagers face is a very real occurrence. Unable to come out because they fear rejection and hatred from their friends and family, they become withdrawn and depressed. It is an upsetting and realistic portrayal of the pain they have to go through, until they can be truly happy with who they are. I felt sorry for this Will more than anyone, because his situation was so real and depressing, I may not know what it is like to be gay or to have to come out, but I will always stand by those who do. Sexuality, as this book highlights, should not define a person, it is part of them yes, it should be treated fairly and equally, something that is still a battle in our current society. The way to help the LGBT community is to accept them for who they are, human beings, who deserve the same rights. This book does not treat the second Will differently because of his sexuality and shows that this is how it should be, always.
On another note, I really, really liked Jane! I was happy to find I liked her, much like Hazel and Lindsey. She was a very cool character; one who helped the first Will accept love. She is the one who confessed her feelings to Will first, who sadly rejected her. It is only later on when she has a boyfriend, does Will realise what he is missing (of course, typical boy!). He finally accepts the fact that he likes her and changes his view on ‘shutting up’, he kisses her on the night that the second Will meets the first Will. It is on this night that things change, the second Will finds out that Isaac is a fake; it is actually Maura a girl from his school that he was sort of friends with. The second Will meets Tiny and things start to change for the better, for both of them. However, things soon turn sour for both relationships. Jane doesn’t want to be in a relationship with Will 1 because she is with someone else, trying to figure out if she likes him or not. Will 2 can’t commit to Tiny because he realises he’s not the person for him. At the end of the book, there is, much to the reader’s satisfaction, a happy ending. Jane and Will1 finally begin their relationship, Tiny hosts his play about love and the acceptance of love, which Will 2 actually comes to. Tiny admits he only wants to be loved and the play highlights his need for acceptance, the audience shows their appreciation for Tiny, by saying that they “love” him. Will 1 and Tiny deal with the problems in their friendship and though Will 2 cannot be with Tiny, he is finally happy, or is on his way to being happy.
In all, this book was definitely worth the read, as all of John Green’s books are. His books seem to highlight the very real nature of being a teenager and give young people, a voice, one that is heard by many, finally.