Tag Archives: books

A Review of John Green’s “Will Grayson, Will Grayson”

Another gem by John Green, only made better by the words of David Levithan. I love books that make the reader dart his or her eyes back and forth between characters. Not necessarily flashback/flash-forward instances because those can get confusing and sometime annoying, but instead the different thoughts, minds, feelings, words and emotions occurring at the same time among two different characters who happen to share the same name.

Things I knew: I knew that the two Will Graysons would be foils of each other in a sense, but would share one similarity that outshines their other faults, flaws or traits. I knew that their lives would at some point, cross over, connecting them to the one thing they were both looking to find meaning in. I knew that there would be one way to always tell them apart, in this case it was the font, and until you read the exchange between the two authors, you will understand why.

Things I didn’t know: How the story would end. As I was nearing the end of this book, I thought, how could everything possibly be wrapped up in 20 pages? While I hate the ends of books for many reasons (I will not bore you with them now), I did not care for Green’s way of closing the curtain on Will Grayson as a novel. However, that is not to say that I didn’t understand it. I thought that Green and Levithan did a wonderful job bringing each Will Grayson’s time in the book to a close, each achieving a sort of acceptable Nirvana in their own lives, and I understand that happy endings in books are overrated and to put it bluntly, nauseous. Not everyone can be in love, and fulfilled and smiling at the end of a story. Not everyone has to love sunny days, warm weather and children all the time. If that were the case, then every book in the world would be a waste of paper, and every person would be a boring blur of grey. But everyone can be content, a little smarter, a little more human, and a little more at ease. It’s the upset and the weirdness that make for unique writing.

I will not spoil the story for you, but I will say this. Green’s Will Grayson ends right where he should be in the reader’s eyes. Levithan’s Will Grayson finally discovers himself and his place in a society of other people who show him that it’s ok to care and talk and share your life with. He finally sees what he could be, and that in itself is a sort of freedom he didn’t know existed. Did I want the happy ending for certain characters? No. Did I want the book to not end as abruptly as it did? Yes. Will I continue to read more of John Green’s work? Absolutely.

Leave a comment

Filed under Books and Literature

Savvy Shakespeare…

I have been doing quite a lot of writing lately, so my apologies if I haven’t posted in a while. I was going through some of my USB sticks and found a review I wrote for my college newspaper. If you are wary to read any of Shakespeare’s work, the least you can do is start with “My Name is Will.” I promise it’s nothing like “Romeo & Juliet” and you won’t be “bored out of your mind,” like so many who don’t understand The Bard claim to be.

“My Name is Will: A Novel of Sex Drugs and Shakespeare” by Jess Winfield

Whoever said that William Shakespeare wasn’t for teenagers was clearly mistaken and should suffer a “murther most foul.” Well, maybe not that intense of a punishment but they should read Jess Winfield’s book, “My Name is Will: A Novel of Sex, Drugs and Shakespeare.” This 316-page story is most definitely a page-turner for any avid reader. Although there are many modern takes on Shakespeare, “My Name is Will” promises not to disappoint.
If any Shakespearean lover or hater thinks that Winfield’s novel is purely about the bard, think again. The author takes the modern-day character of Willie Shakespeare Greenberg, a 25-year-old grad student at UC Santa Cruz and pairs him against the 18-year-old up and coming playwright of William Shakespeare himself. In William’s storyline, he is entrusted with a sacred relic from Rome, which he must deliver during a time when the only option in religion was choose or die. At the same time, William is forced into a marriage, tormented for his beliefs and the secret he is withholding and is in the process of writing some of the greatest plays in all of literature.
Centuries later, Willie appears, desperately wanting to finish his graduate thesis on Shakespeare. He becomes distracted by the beautiful Dashka Demitra, his stand-in advisor who further adds to the problems in Willie’s personal life. When his father cuts off his cash flow, Willie becomes involved in a plot to be a drug runner as a way to make some money. With six dollars in his pocket and an unfinished thesis at home, Willie goes on a journey to the Renaissance fair, his final destination to seal the deal.
The reader may be confused due to a series of constant flashbacks throughout the novel, which switches the points of view between the classic William Shakespeare and his modern-day counterpart Willie. However, this brilliant device further illustrates the similarities and intersections of both William and Willie’s lives and connects them in a very fluid movement of the text, proving that the two characters are more alike than they would have thought. Every chapter that discusses the playwright begins with an excerpt from one of his plays or sonnets. The same goes for the chapters involving Willie where the author chooses to refer to him only as “Willie” throughout the entire novel, keeping the distinction between the two Shakespeares identifiable.
Most appropriate for both males and females aged 18 and older, Winfield’s novel appeals to the truths of young adult life. From sex, pornographic language and issues with drugs while tripping off of shrooms to the beauty of making connections between Shakespeare’s past life and modern-day influence, the author makes the bard appealing to everyone. This novel gives the reader a behind-the-scenes look at the humorous side of Shakespeare. By highlighting the underlying tones that devoted Shakespeareans force themselves to over look, “My Name is Will” allows hardcore British literature buffs to relax and enjoy the ride. “My Name is Will” was published by Grand Central Publishing and is available for $24 in your local bookstore. Used and discounted copies are also available online.

Leave a comment

Filed under Books and Literature

Quote of the Day

“When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes.” -Desiderius Erasmus

1 Comment

Filed under Quote of the Day