Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
TWO MISFITS. ONE EXTRAORDINARY LOVE. It's 1986 and two star-crossed teens are 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. A cross between the iconic '80s movie Sixteen Candles and the classic coming-of-age novel Looking for Alaska, Eleanor & Park is a brilliantly written young adult novel.
First of all I have to say that I am the "big" girl with crazy red hair who married the half-Korean boy who never quite fit in. I like to say that the characters were based on myself and my husband. Anyway, on to the story.
I'm sitting here wondering how a girl like me, a total HEA kind of gal, can read this book and the only word that comes to mind is PERFECTION. The writing style is flawless. The characters are more authentic than any I've ever read. The emotions are almost physical in their nature. This book is just fabulous.
Park's mom is written with a frightening degree of accuracy. She is the embodiment of my Korean mother-in-law, if Lee were an Avon sales lady from the 1980's.
Park is the unequaled in the world of fiction. He has a sharp dislike for Eleanor at first and has a tendency to be outright rude to her. As we learn more about Park, we see that his initial reaction to Eleanor is a direct result to being half Asian in a predominately white environment. He didn't understand why she would dress in a way that makes her stand out, a complaint he ponders often in the beginning. To someone who has spent his life trying to fit in, her choices are a mystery. As the story moves forward, Park begins to accept and eventually love these very qualities about Eleanor. It is these seemingly outrageous decisions that cause him to tell her that she's the bravest person that he knows.
And Eleanor...God bless Eleanor in all of her Big Red crazy-haired glory. It is through Eleanor's character and Park's reactions to her that I was able to think back to the early days of dating my husband and see what it is that he was able to see in me.