Pizza and a Movie: Me & Earl & the Dying Girl

This weekend’s Pizza Toppings at Corner Pizza:

  • Fresh Garlic
  • Portobellos
  • Spinach



Me & Earl & the Dying Girl

This one was another vegetarian pizza, and all topping selections were my husband’s.

Initially, I balked at the choice of garlic, and even offered to switch it for jalapeños (on only half the pizza, though). But I like garlic, it’s healthy, and with all the other ingredients on the pizza, I knew it wouldn’t be overpowering. Besides, he didn’t agree to switch.

The pizza was very good, and someday, I’ll agree to jalapeños – just not yet.

Now for the movie. Poignant, witty, cleverly done, well cast, and well acted…and, in the words of one reviewer, “rips your heart out.” Shades of the films The Fault in our Stars and 50/50. The awkwardness of high school faces cancer (the “dying girl” has leukemia) – and the result is both relatable and difficult to imagine.

However – as a mom (and a caregiver), not as the patient – I could relate to the film more than I couldn’t. My son was in college, so a little older than the dying girl, when he was diagnosed with cancer. In my latest book, ALL THE ABOVE, I tell his story from my perspective.

The movie brought one particular passage in that book to my mind:

“My thoughts traveled back to when I was nineteen and in college, a time when my biggest concerns were writing papers, studying for exams, and meeting boys. If I had been told one day that I had a brain tumor, my whole world would have crashed and collapsed. 

I would have cried for days, if not weeks. Like Jack, I would have mourned the loss of my summer, the plans I had looked forward to. [But unlike Jack,] I would have felt very sorry for myself. I would have wanted to stay in my room and hide.

I wouldn’t have been able to deal with the crushing blows that just seemed to keep on coming for Jack.” 

Unlike pizza topping choices, you can’t even try to bargain about cancer, notwithstanding that bargaining is one of the stages of your grief.

But you can hold onto hope.

me, Jack 11-6

Me and Jack in Fall 2010. His hair was just starting to grow back after radiation treatment.

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