Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park is the kind of book you will save from floods or fire or the end of the world.
I first heard about Eleanor & Park when I stumbled upon John Green’s review. I was interested with the idea of first love, the cutesy type of first love and people didn’t want to stop raving about this book.
Now I don’t even know how to begin writing this because I’m a sucker for well-written novels with a horrible sense of foreboding in the run-up to the ending, especially because of the prologue, which makes you expect heartbreak right from the very start. I thought this would be Why We Broke Up all over again.
But the thing is, it wasn’t.
Set over the course of one school year in 1986, Eleanor & Park 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.
One of my favorite quotes from the book is this: She never looked nice. She looked like art, and art wasn’t supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something.
Tell me that doesn’t make you want to flail your arms up and down excitedly. I couldn’t put this book down. Literally. The night I started it, I was up ’til about 4 in the morning because every time I tried to put it down and go to sleep (because I had to work the next morning), I immediately had to pick it up and keep reading.
I spent half the book grinning ear to ear. There were even times I had to stop for a bit to stop myself from squeeing because it was too adorable for me and god, I can’t handle adorable. By the time I reached the end of the book I felt like Augustus Waters reading An Imperial Affliction because I swear there should be ten more pages.
I remember that kind of love – the love that makes you disintegrate. I remember feeling so much, talking on the phone all night with the boy I liked, and the joy of holding hands for the first time.
I guess one of the reasons why I liked Eleanor & Park so much is because it is so… believable. I guess you could say that I related to Eleanor a lot, as someone who also thinks rather low of herself and that is generally quite awkward. But in addition to the romantic plot, there’s also a serious dual plot that is very effective at tugging your heart strings.
Reading this as an adult, it made me crave for a happy ending. My own happy ending, but then reality slaps me in the face and pees on things I own (and love) to wake me up from my delusions of grandeur. But you get the idea, right?
Eleanor & Park is a wonderful story of love and loss that continues to haunt me every time I think about it, despite the time that had passed since I finished it.
Recommended to: EVERYONE. Everyone should read Eleanor & Park.