Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
Published February 2013 by St. Martin's Press
Source: bought this one for my Nook to read with the Omaha Bookworms

Publisher's Summary:
Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love—and just how hard it pulled you under.

My Thoughts:
I really liked Rowell's Attachments and Rowell herself is just adorable, plus you all told me this book was great and still I was surprised by how much I loved this book.

Eleanor and Park are unique in literature but not as much in real life. We've all known the girl who dressed in a way that made other kids stare, the boy who isn't one of the in-group but respected enough that they leave him alone. The relationship between the two develops in a way that is natural and real, happening slowly and complicated by problems that are both universal and distinctly their own.
"There's a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes me want to let him open doors for me..."
"But he kept finding new pockets of shallow inside himself. He kept finding new ways to betray her." 
If you follow Rainbow Rowell on Twitter or are "friends" with her on Facebook, you'll know that she often writes in Starbucks where she can listen in on conversations and frequently asks for help from her readers coming up with just the right word to use. It shows in her writing with dialogue that is amazingly true to life, a style that makes every word count, and a voice that is purely her own.
"Don't bite his face, Eleanor told herself. It's disturbing and needy and never happens in situation comedies or movies that end with big kisses..."
"...the backseat was an Erica Jong novel just waiting to happen."
Rainbow Rowell
Some of people have tried to ban Rowell's book, citing a fair amount of f-bombs and some sex. Truly, there's not much sex and it is a book about teenagers, after all. And that cursing? I suppose it says something about my family that I really didn't notice it. Others in my book club did have an issue with it and it's worth noting that it's there. But please don't skip over this book because of it.

I rarely reread books; I keep very few of them once I've read them. Eleanor and Park will be a reread...maybe even this year. It is funny and sad and frightening and hopeful and, dare I use that incredibly overused word, poignant. And it has writing like this:
"She didn't know there were things worse than selfish." 

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