Saturday, October 26, 2013
Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan
If you like: musicals * finding your identity * sneaking into concerts
Will Grayson, Will Grayson is a story about friendship, love, and finding out who you really are. It takes place over several weeks, when high school friends drift apart and come together while one writes a musical about himself, their friendship, and love. In the process of truly beginning to understand their friendship, Tiny Cooper and Will Grayson encounter many frustrating points. They even meet a second Will Grayson who turns their entire relationship on its head. In the end, both Tiny and Will learn a lot about themselves and growing up, and are able to overcome the challenges and roadblocks that have been put in the way of their friendship.
High school friendships can mean a lot, and they can also be dramatically blown out of proportion. It is difficult to know when something is real. It is so difficult because every second seems like it will impact the world. Each character in the story interprets this constant pressure differently. Tiny falls in love with everyone he meets. He copes with the immensity of the world by trying to find passion and comfort in making others happy and falling in love. Will Grayson tries coping in a different way. He does not enjoy the peaks and valleys of life. He tries to stay neutral and not get too involved in anything, but this causes him to miss out on important relationships. Over the course of the story, seeing how Tiny reacts and embraces everything helps Will Grayson to understand that it's okay to have love and pain, and it is worth taking chances. The other Will Grayson experiences a very different set of circumstances, but is still wrapped up in the world of Tiny. Will Grayson has spent his life in the valleys. He's rarely experienced the peaks of joy and passion of a true relationship. Though he must experience his worst low in order to meet Tiny, in the end it is worth it. Meeting Tiny and Will helps him to understand who he really is and that it's okay to feel the pain in the lows because they are part of life, but you shouldn't allow them to stop you from dreaming of the highs. Navigating the waters of friendship and love rarely gets easier as time goes on, but you learn to realize when something is worth it.
Will Grayson, Will Grayson takes a lot of the most common tropes of youth storytelling and manages to make them feel real again. Yes, many stories involve falling head over heels in love and then being hurt, but in Will Grayson the story is actually about feeling hurt and making something good out of it. The story acknowledges pain and also acknowledges that pain is part of what makes us who we are. If you never have your heart broken, either by a friend or by a love, you can never really know the full capacity of your heart. Life is all about taking risks, not the risks that are flamboyant displays of love, but the type of risks that show a person that you are willing to put yourself in a precarious position for them. It is important for the bonds of friendship to show that you are willing to expose yourself to uncertainty in order to mean something to the ones you love. At its heart, the story is not really about love, but admitting you must understand yourself and your relationship with the world in order to really make strong friendships and relationships. Though we all have our inner demons, it is important that we knowledge both our own and that everyone around us has them, too. Once we understand that we all have our own damage, we can appreciate the flaws in others and learn to love them for them. For many, it takes years and years to understand this important lesson, but all of the characters in the story are able to learn it together and become better, closer friends because of it. The world will never be a perfect place, but we can all enjoy it a little bit more by embracing that, and learning to enjoy the little imperfections. The grand gestures aren't everything; the little things are what matter and remembering them helps you bond with those you love. Knowing that our kind words and kind gestures are appreciated at face value is what lasts and makes us feel our own power. If we're all willing to take a step back and welcome the truth of our close friends, we will all be much happier and experience the powerful joys of finding our tribe.
If you know embrace the truth, even when it hurts, read Will Grayson, Will Grayson.
Green, John; Levithan, David. Will Grayson, Will Grayson. Penguin Group US, 2010. Kindle Edition.