Will Grayson, Will Grayson
David Levithan, John Green
There's an old episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation where Will Riker beams down to a planet he narrowly escaped from by being beamed out several years earlier. He discovers another Will Riker that was marooned on the planet; the transporter cut him in two, basically. Both lived parallel lives until that moment and the event changed each one for the better*
Meet Will Grayson. He's a high school student with girl problems. His best friend is a gay football player named Tiny. He has a list of rules that he lives by (rule one: no talking). His parents are doctors and he lives a nice middle class lifestyle in Chicago. He's an interesting character.
Meet Will Grayson. He's a high school student with boy problems. His best friend is a goth girl he can't stand. He has no rules to live by and is a closeted homosexual. His mother takes care of him and he works at CVS Pharmacy to help her with the bills. He's an interesting character.
I thought--like with the Will Riker TNG episode--that I would be confused at some point as to who was speaking, and that it might be confusing when the other characters referred to one as Will, or My Will, or Just Will. That wasn't the case. John Green and David Levithan both adopted a writing style and voice for each Will Grayson that was the polar opposite of the other.
John Green didn't get me this time either: I did not cry once while reading this book. If anything I did the complete opposite of crying like an 8-year-old with a skinned knee; this time I cackled like a 90-year-old woman who just found her false teeth.
Yeah, yeah, David Levithan is in there too but he's never gotten a real emotional response from me. Well, until the ending of this book, that is. But it was a good fuck yeah response. Not a how will I ever feel the same again I'm completely exhausted emotionally response.
I really credit David Levithan for making what could've been a quirky road trip novel (John Green's primary ingredient) and turning it into a back-and-forth between two characters with unrelated problems.
It's a feel good book. It's a comedy. It's a musical. There's even an element of romance and a goth girl that everyone loves to hate. John Green and David Levithan are like two Will Rikers working in tandem. Both of them put forth an effort to make a different Will Grayson. Both of them succeeded and didn't need a transporter malfunction to do so.
Full Disclosure: I purchased this from a local used bookstore (if I remember correctly).
* Until a DS9 episode where Marooned Will Riker turns evil.