Reading Eleanor & Park really brings back the memories of my youth of young love. The dialogue, the setting, the relationship woes, the insecurities and dreams. Young love was some thing that we forever hope its... forever. Every thing that is captured in Eleanor & Park is almost real.
Meet Eleanor - starting over in a new place when her mother remarried and already there are problems involved - her stepdad and bullies. Enter Park - a half Asian boy who wants to be left alone. These two unlikely have nothing in common. It was never love at first sight. It was a choice made by Parl that forever bring them together and in the end, some thing happened between them. Some thing unexpected and wonderful. But not every thing do last...
This is my first Rainbow Rowell novel that I heard so much about and was one of the reasons I bought it last year and finally read it. How do I feel about it? Like I said in the first paragraph - it really does bring back memories of young love. Rowell captures realism of teenagers through dialogue of male and female thinking and the life as one. I love how the interaction was well executed. What was good is how the writing of two perceptions was written so that we can understand Eleanor and Park's thoughts about each other. The reassuring, the common unspoken love the two exchange and how Park would do any thing for Eleanor if she is in trouble and the worries he has for her. That's just how it is when it comes to teenage love and that is real.
Some of the elements involve is AMWF relationships in an young adult book is explored here. I am quite surprise as to how the most rare relationships even today's generation is found and I find that is rare even in the 1980s (even though now it has increase but rarely over the years). The characters of both Eleanor and Park is taken into consideration of recognition that is surreal but workable. It is pretty unique for a young adult book.
There is another thing that I love about Eleanor & Park - that Rainbow Rowell is a geek 80s. Yes, there is lots of other good memories of cassettes, songs of the 80s, the TV Shows like Mike Hammer, the comics like Watchmen and more that really adds value of how 1986 is like then. I find myself loving a lot and to know that it is well exposed to newer readers of how cool the 80s is then.
Although some parts of the book are not explored (like other characters involved that feel rather thin and given a paragraph description background), there is a lot of assumptions that needed made as a reader like me need to assume. Pretty much every thing is right and guessed too. And the ending... yes, it leaves to anyone's interpretation (but I am pretty sure what interpretation for anyone who reads it). Yes - that last line is ambiguous. It does work well for this book. The last few chapters do feel a little rushed but I believe if any longer, it would drag it longer and became an unpleasant read.
Eleanor & Park really is a good book but rather, it appeals more towards teenagers that readers like me. I do appreciate it since it does show how true life is like as teenagers in love. As for me, its the mindset I need to set to understand how good this book is, but its just good in an appreciative sense. I doubt I will be ready to read any other Rainbow Rowell books just yet unless some thing caught my attention comes along from her. So until then, Eleanor & Park is my only stop for now.