By the third John Green novel during August of 2013, my motivation to read another faded. Simply because I was exhausted from the angsty teenage theme he exhausted in his YA novels.
Fast-forward to 2017 in the middle of summer and I stumble upon the fourth one I had skipped. I had just finished reading Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen and so the anticipated lightness of the plot appealed to me. Plus I figured before I gave it away, I should at least read it once.
At the end of the day, it’s still a typical John Green Book but man –
He has a sense of humor!
(credit to co-author David Levithan as well)
And I think that’s why I found myself struggling to put down the novel. John Green has a sense of humor that is relatable and cheesy, which is my kind of humor.
Anyways, focusing on the book, the plot is relatively simple and it revolves around the destined encounter of our protagonists who really only have their name in common. Readers see how both of them try to tackle their understanding of themselves and their feelings for others whilst the making of Tiny Cooper’s musical. All in all, I was really sympathetic to single-parent Will Grayson and related to the hurt Tiny Cooper’s best-friend was feeling when it seemed to him that he was being replaced.
Maura makes it to my list of annoying characters. What she did to Will was unacceptable despite totally predicting that. Towards the end of the novel, you kind of understand her motives but it isn’t enough for redemption. However, it did lead to a conversation between Will and his mother that I greatly appreciate:
“mom: my point is that there are times when you just have to let it all out. All the anger
Tiny Cooper is loud, large, and portrayed as your typical sassy gay teenage boy that you can’t miss. He has excellent rhyming game and apparently can sing like an angel but frankly most of his lyrics made me cringe. I think it’s because I was trying to sing them in my head but I only had the lyrics to work with. However, I got bored with the constant reference to his largeness throughout the entire novel. I’m not exaggerating.
In my opinion, the grandness and sexual orientation of Tiny were more focused on than the relatability of the character. Unlike the other two Will Grayson(s), Tiny’s parents are mentioned once or twice, you learn nothing of his background, and nuances that would really bring Tiny Cooper’s character together – almost none. If you can list any other characteristics other than Tiny being large, gay, sassy, and in love with musicals, let me know.
Regarding writing mechanics, the narration switches back and forth between the two Grayson(s) and I find it interesting that the writing mechanics used to distinguish the two is that the chapters designated for Single-Parent Will Grayson has no capital letters. At all. Bothersome at first but I later got used to it.
Overall, a humorous book that makes you think back to your angsty and awkward teenage years in the midst of a booming digital age and the onset of self-discovery. It also served as a distraction from the inevitable good-byes this summer had in stored for me. The more I think about it, the more I realize my teenage angsty years were really just an awkward period of learning several truths. Being 21 now doesn’t mean I’ve learned everything but I’m more accepting of my awkward nature.