TRANS* & Nonbinary

Lending Library

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

by Jesse Andres (he/him) 
The Gender Creative Child, by Diane Ehrensaft, PhD

Andrews’ 2012 young adult novel “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” follows high schooler Greg Gaines, a loner who spends most of his time with his sole friend, Earl, and a girl dying of leukemia.

The book is frequently challenged for what Andrews calls “garden-variety profanity” that captures the way teenage boys talk.

“I thought that kind of naturalism would makes it look appealing to other teenagers and make it feel real to them,” Andrews says. “I hear from a lot of readers who are like: ‘You know, a lot of books, just don’t feel natural to me. I don’t love reading, but I like reading your book.’”

Andrews says cherry-picked passages misrepresent the book and its intentions. “It’s about teenage boys talking about sex. They’re not having it, they barely know what it is. They’re joking about it, the way teenagers often do,” Andrews says. “There’s a kind of an innocent naivete to it that gets totally lost when you’re selecting a couple of sentences and reading it out loud in this aggrieved tone to the school board.”

Andrews says his book stands out in contrast to most of the books on the ALA list, which are by and about people of color and LGBTQ people.

“I’m a lot more concerned about the censorship of those books than I am about my own,” Andrews says. “Most of the other books on the list are about the trans experience, the Black experience, queer experience. And that is, I think, much more what a certain political movement in this country is trying to silence.”

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