What would happen if you met someone with the exact same name as you not that far away from you? What would happen if your best friend started dating them? When Will Grayson and will grayson meet, love, revelations, and musicals are to come.
David Levithan’s will grayson has depression, and it might be one of the most frustrating characters of any of Levithan’s books, purely because his condition means he denies himself so many of the pleasures in his life that he deserves to experience. He takes antidepressants, and whilst this might seem a rather mundane point to highlight, it seems that there are a severe lack of YA books that discuss drug therapy for mental illness. Furthermore, will grayson is gay, and eventually finds a relationship with the flamboyant musical-loving, football player Tiny Cooper. He feels like he’s letting his mother down, doesn’t feel like he’s good enough, and struggles to get out of the house most days.
“i think the idea of a “mental health day” is something completely invented by people who have no clue what it’s like to have bad mental health. the idea that your mind can be aired out in twenty-four hours is kind of like saying heart disease can be cured if you eat the right breakfast cereal.” – David Levithan ~ Will Grayson, Will Grayson
He grapples frequently with the idea of people who don’t have any experience with mental illness saying things that often come off as insensitive, and it angers him – even with the people he likes most, like Tiny. Ultimately, will is flawed, and in a more human way than many characters. What I’ve come to notice is that my favourite characters are the intrinsically, humanly flawed. All is well and good with characters like Katniss Everdeen, and I’m not doubting their important place in literature, but they’re such good people it sometimes feels near impossible to relate to them. Trust me, if you sometimes feel like you’re kind of a bad person, will grayson will seem like a welcome change of pace to the martyring heroes of a lot of YA literature.
As Tiny puts it, “maybe there’s something you’re afraid to say, or someone you’re afraid to love, or somewhere you’re afraid to go. it’s gonna hurt. it’s gonna hurt because it matters.” I sincerely hope, for anyone who has ventured no further into John Green than The Fault in our Stars, or Looking for Alaska, this might be your new favourite book. And if you haven’t read any David Levithan, I highly recommend it. I’m sure we’ll be recommending more of his books in the future.