I usually take the romance genre with grave apprehension as if I were taking an important exam I knew I would fail. The romances I happened to read were weirdly bad or just bad. The kind where you question the characters’ sanity. Fortunately, Rainbow Rowell introduced to me sickeningly sweet love stories that do not make me sick. It showed me what it simply feels to fall for a person.
Set over the course of one school year in 1986, ELEANOR AND 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. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love – and just how hard it pulled you under.
I took Eleanor and Park rather lightly, as light as its cover (simple yet catchy). I finished it quickly since the prose was light and difficult to put down. The POVs shift between Eleanor and Park and you could see how distinct each voice is. Park is usually sober while Eleanor is practical. Park is confused, Eleanor is broken. You could feel the book. The awkwardness, the cringe, the unexplainable bliss—it was all so familiar.
The plot was almost nowhere though you could sense some sort of steady build-up with Eleanor’s family conflict. It was like reading a Archie comic and expecting some sort of a pun in the end. The romance can be overwhelming (it is) and dragging at times as it deeply focuses on Eleanor and Park’s infatuation with each other. Eleanor and Park shine separately, not much when they’re together (I disliked the cheesiness) but it makes me happy anyway. I love how they feel happy and secure with each other. I love how expressive they are with each other when they couldn’t to family and friends. And you could feel all the fear and doubt after they part.
Eleanor wins as the best character. I like Park but I find Eleanor more complex and memorable. Her confusions, her insecurities, her courage, her choices and her decisions. She’s a tragedy but not. You just got to love her. She’s probably the main reason why I loved the book. E&P is a cute and memorable read. I squealed like a mouse reading it. It reminded me that falling inlove is plain weird and you could never understand it (I try to dissect the meaning of love during long walks from school to home. It’s a mystery to me). Love is simply love. And I love how simply it was told in this book. And how confusing it can be and I’m not the only person who thinks so.
What are the chances you’d ever meet someone like that? he wondered. Someone you could love forever, someone who would forever love you back? And what did you do when that person was born half a world away? The math seemed impossible.”
What did you feel about the book? Did it made you cringe, sad, or inlove again? Share your thoughts or own love stories! I’d be happy to listen to them.