Eleanor & Park

Some people can alter your life. Their actions change you, shape you. Who would have thought so the first time you met? Looking back on that first meeting seems impossible, because how could you not see the importance back then? Whether they’re there for the long haul, some people have come into your life to help you. Just as Eleanor helped Park become more authentic to himself and no longer wishing he was invisible on the back on the bus. And how Park helped Eleanor wish she wasn’t invisible at times.

This book is one of my favorite books ever. I wish I could tell you why, but it’s hard to explain. That would be like Eleanor and Park trying to figure out why they like each other. They just do. However I’ve been trying as hard as Park tries to put into words what he loves about Eleanor.
I like the references to geek culture. Whenever books do this it always feels familiar, even if I don’t know the fandoms. It’s just that I can relate very much to falling in love with stories that it puts a smile on my face when characters do this. In theory I could expand my love of this book by listening to all the songs they mentioned. Which reminds me of listening to music a friend (or love interest) recommends to me. That’s how much I care about this book.

Maybe I love it because it’s not love at first sight. At first they look at each other like you might look at any random person you come across. Merely stating the facts viewed through their life experiences. Not knowing that Eleanor takes any scraps of fabric she can finds and puts them on her clothes for anything but a fashion statement.

eleanor-and-park

I love this book for its dialogue. Not just the nerdy moments, but also Rainbow Rowell’s gift of saying things without rubbing it in your face. In the end you find out the truth has always been there, but its too ugly to face. Too hard to acknowledge.

It’s the details and her ever fun and compelling characters that make the story. Personally I love character driven stories. Rainbow uses the describtions that are unique to her characters, which makes them feel very real and organic.

I love this book because it’s more than just a fluffy romance. To some this feels overdone, to me it feels realistic. It’s in the way Eleanor can’t imagine why anyone could ever like her, because at home and at school she only hears she’s not good enough. Or the fact she’s always cautious, afraid of those moments when she lets go of that fear because that could mean the end. The end of her, the end of them. My high school years very much felt like finding a way to survive and I’m very grateful for every person that made me escape my fears. Even though, like Eleanor, I was afraid to let them get too close. Maybe because that meant I could lose them for they might not stick around if they found out the truth. This must be the biggest part of why I like Eleanor & Park so much. Because a huge chunk of it, are my high school thoughts thrown back at me in a slightly different form. Perhaps that’s also why I always break near the end.

I’m constantly trying to convert people to start reading this. If I had to pick a top 5 of favorite books this might just be the number one. It’s confirmed to me just how much people can make your life better, how it’s silly to begrudge high school bullies and how trying to stay invisble can be one of the bravest acts of them all. And let’s face it. I want to find my own Park.

Eleanor & Park is a novel by Rainbow Rowell. This is my second time reading it. I first read it in January 2014 and this is what I thought about it back then.

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