"Bono met his wife in high school," Park says.
"So did Jerry Lee Lewis," Eleanor answers.
"I’m not kidding," he says.
"You should be," she says, "we’re sixteen."
"What about Romeo and Juliet?"
"Shallow, confused, then dead."
''I love you," Park says.
"Wherefore art thou," Eleanor answers.
"I’m not kidding," he says.
"You should be."
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.
Ok so you know how the other day I was cursing The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight and expressing my extreme hatred for contemporary novels? And you were all:
Well today is the day I eat those words….or at least some of them. Because I have experienced the complete awesomeness that is Eleanor & Park!
I’ve been trying really hard to like contemporary books lately, and so far every single thing I’ve read has left me with the urge to throw things. I was even prepared to give up on the genre as a whole, it was so frustrating! But I have fantastic bookish friends ( Scott, Kristen and Stephanie) who suggested we read Eleanor & Park together. Now of course I was completely convinced that there was no way I was going to like this contemporary novel. I knew way down in my gut that there was no way I was going to even remotely enjoy something that was sure to be another drama filled unbelievable mess! Then Stephanie had to drop out of the read-a-long and I was all “this is a sign of how horrible this book will be for me!”. But by then I had already used my audible credit and Scott and Kristen were so excited I wouldn’t destroy their party. And what a party it was!
Somehow Rowell has made a story that showcases what true love should be in a novel and how even the heaviest of stories can be brightened by that love. She took some very serious situations and problems and shed light on them without going for the obvious and overly done shock factor approach. And coming from a person who has witnessed the reality of abusive family members, self esteem issues, substance and domestic abuse, I can’t tell you how much the reality of this story means to me. Not once did I feel as though Rowell was being preachy or melodramatic. She took every serious element that would have made me cringe or roll my eyes in any other book and somehow balanced them with the budding and tangible love that Eleanor & Park had, and for that I am in total awe.
I’m not an emotional person by any means, but believe me when I say this story had me full invested as a reader, a witness, and a person. And any tears I did shed were genuine.