“Brains love poetry. It’s sticky stuff.”
This beautiful quote exemplifies what makes Eleanor & Park one of the best books I read this year. Rainbow Rowell’s prose in this timeless coming-of-age love story is chalk full of poetry, and it sticks with you, long after you close the final pages.
For a novel that is “stuck” in the eighties – eighties records, comic book and other pop culture references abound throughout its pages – this is a story that will never get old. Because at it’s heart this is a book about two young people coming together against all odds. And not just romantically – oh no, this story is about so much more than that.
For a novel that deals with heavy topics like domestic abuse, bullying and child molestation – this book is filled with a surprising number of delightful moments. And that’s the beauty of Rowell’s narrative and voice – her prose is simple, stunning and heartfelt. You feel every single indignity like a blow to chest, but every little moment of happiness proves that there is good in the world even when everything seems dark.
Rowell captures the urgency of falling in love for the first time – of nights spent on the phone, staring up at the ceiling, unwilling to ever hang up; of weekends spent waiting for Monday morning to roll around so you can be together again. It’s a beautiful thing, and it’s love in its purest form. Something even adults could do well to remember.
“I don’t think I even breathe when we’re not together,” she whispered. “Which means, when I see you on Monday morning, it’s been like sixty hours since I’ve taken a breath. That’s probably why I’m so crabby, and why I snap at you. All I do when we’re apart is think about you, and all I do when we’re together is panic. Because every second is so important. And because I’m so out of control, I can’t help myself. I’m not even mine anymore, I’m yours, and what if you decide that you don’t want me? How could you want me like I want you?”
This is a story that you don’t see coming – it’s about holding on when it’s easier to let go and letting go when it’s safer to hold on. It’s a book you have to read for yourself. I guarantee you’ll find yourself falling in love with the intoxicating prose, lovable protagonists, and gripping plot. Along the way you might learn something about life, love and bravery – I sure as heck did.
Reaction: *hands pulling hair* “OH MY GOSH, WHY?!?!” Oh, and tears. Definitely some outraged tears.
Up Next Week: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell