Will Grayson Will Grayson By John Green/David Levithan

imgres“Tiny Cooper is not the world’s gayest person, and he is not the world’s largest person, but I believe he may be the world’s largest person who is really, really gay, and also the world’s gayest person who is really, really large . . .”

When I first started reading this I wasn’t aware of the central concept: there are two different characters, both called Will Grayson, both similar in age and personality, and both are written in first person by different authors (John Green and David Levithan) in alternating chapters.

Once I realised the book was split into two separate worlds (which eventually collide), the distinction between the Will Graysons became clear; it’s hard to see how I didn’t notice earlier. One chapter is written normally and grammatically, the other chapter is written with a lack of punctuation and proper grammar. I read the book on my Kindle and for some reason just assumed the bad grammar/punctuation was a glitch with my file, not a stylistic decision.

My stupidity aside, Will Grayson Will Grayson is a delight: a comedic novel filled with funny scenes, witty dialogue, engaging prose, a fast-moving plot, and an array of bright interesting characters, especially Tiny and the two Will Graysons. And although it’s tagged in various places as a Young Adult novel, it doesn’t read like a typical teen novel; a lot of the content, themes, and language are of an adult nature.

In short: if you like quick and quirky books, check it out. It’s overflowing with charm and wonder. 


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Death By Hollywood by Steven Bocho

th-1“The story I want to tell you involves, among other things, a screenwriter whose career is fading out more than it’s fading in, a billionaire’s wife, and a murder . . .”

Death by Hollywood is a shallow attempt to expose and lampoon all the shady, unscrupulous, ego-driven sociopaths who run the American film industry. 

In PopcornBen Elton approached a similar subject (albeit from a different angle), but whereas he ripped into his subject with cutting insights and still maintained a moral epicentre to the book — a depth of character and plot — this book fails to reach the intelligence or enjoyment of that satire. In contrast, Death by Hollywood is all style with zero substance, no different from the bimbo dilettantes it tries to send up: alluring on the surface, but not much going on upstairs. 

The plot concerns a borderline alcoholic writer who chances upon seeing a murder, and then manipulates the proceeding events so he can write the truth from the inside out, even going so far as to hang out with the lead detective in the homicide. It’s a straightforward story with a few obvious twists, and reads like a guy at a bar telling a humorous and extended story to his friends about a couple murders; something they won’t remember the next morning, but which is nonetheless hilarious and engrossing on the night. Also, at times, the story is a little too clever for its own good: with all the inside jokes and secondhand industry stories, etc.

However, in spite of the flaws, it’s still a fairly entertaining read with a humorous, engaging voice. It won’t be one you recommend to all your friends, but it’s worth reading over the space of a Sunday afternoon when you’re bored and have nothing better to do. 


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