Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Review: "Eleanor and Park" by Rainbow Rowell

Happy Wednesday, Bibliophiles!

I continue to scold myself for not getting a hold of this author's books sooner, even though everyone was raving about them. This one in particular was a turly enjoyable read.

~ Enjoy ~


Title: Eleanor and Park
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publication: February 26, 2013
Pages: 328

Two misfits.
One extraordinary love.

... Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough...Eleanor.

Park... He knows she'll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There's a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises...Park.

Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.

I can't believe I waited so long to read this. I'm not sure what I was expecting... something a little more cotton candy than this, but I'm glad it was as honest and bittersweet as it was.

Rainbow Rowell is very honest about her characters and their struggles/desires/victories.  Relationships are already hard, but when you're just beginning to navigate them in a world where you have limited power over your decisions and circumstances it's a battlefield of emotions and angst. Being a teen is hard. Being a teen in love is hard. Throw in trying to come to terms with who you are as a person while dealing with an INCREDIBLY difficult family life and you've got a recipe for absolute hell - but it's the kind you want battle through, to get through, with someone.

"Even if we can't find heaven,  I'll walk through hell with you" - I didn't hear this song until after I'd read Eleanor and Park, but it seems like the right kind of song for them both who want so badly to just be in love without all of the mess that's coming at them from all sides.

I didn't really date in high school and I never did fall in "love" with anyone until much later in life but I count myself lucky because, seriously, the crushes were bad enough. Rowell's timid and passionate relationship between two like souls who live in very different worlds is the kind of story we naturally want to hear (love conquers all), but she delivers it in a way that's keeping us emotionally tied up. We have no more idea what will happen than Eleanor and Park do. We're in this with them, but have no idea what the end looks like. This isn't a fairytale. It's not a formulaic romance novel. It's life. It's messy and difficult and for some people it's down right dangerous... but still, we love. Desperately, hopefully, purposefully.

It's a sort of anthem to life.

A bit gritty and dark, but full of life and hope too... from both sides. I definitely appreciated that the end was a happy one, because I don't know how I would have bounced back from this book if it had closed in sadness or with a sense of profound emptiness where nothing was resolved and everything just ended. The somewhat open ended leave off was comforting - they have a chance. Despite everything, they have a chance and that's all they need. They may not end up together forever, first love rarely ends that way, but at least they get the gift of that opportunity. It closed up everything with a bit of a "Happily Ever After" sort of tone.

Charming, harrowing, funny, honest, intelligent, and full of hope. I really enjoyed this one.


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Auggie is the 30 year old whirlwind owner of Auggie-Talk. A bibliobibuli by nature and a (potentially obsessive) lover of Diana Wynne Jones and Neil Gaiman. Not so secrety secret: She's been known to consume too much caffeine leading to hyperactive rants about her heinous lack of shelving.

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