A suggestion was made to me that I might want to start reviewing books. I read at least two books a month and don’t feel like myself unless I have a book on my person at all times. The idea made sense and it pushes me to write more (practice, practice, practice).
Today’s book is called Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell. It is a young adult novel about two teenage outsiders who fall in love in the midst of child abuse (hers) and peer pressure (his). It is set in Omaha, Nebraska in 1986. It has been compared to a John Hughes film and that point couldn’t be more spot on. The dialogue between the teenagers feels so real and the emotions comes effortlessly. Nothing ever feels put upon. I grew up in the 80s and was 11 in 1986. The music she references (The Smiths, New Order, and Joy Division)were too cool for my preteen years but once I hit high school there was nobody cooler than Morrissey and Johnny Marr (my junior year winter formal date looked just like Morrissey-true story). Eleanor at one point is talking to Park on the phone on the floor of her deadbeat Dad’s apartment. She is browsing Dad’s collection of records. Rowell creates such a picture in my head that I could smell the records, the incense, and even the marijuana. The terror and subsequent dread that comes with riding the bus to and from school flooded me with memories. I only wish I had found young love on the bus like the frizzy red headed girl and her punk rock Asian boyfriend (they are definitely not your stereotypical beautiful/dashing heroine/hero).
Eleanor and Park is my new The Fault in Our Stars. It is filled with sweet awkwardness. I was having an inner battle between wanting to read the book slowly so it would never end and wanting to finish it quickly so I could return it to the library so somebody else could experience the joy of reading it. It even has a Star Wars reference for goodness sake. I am still working on my young adult novel and I can now say that Eleanor and Park is the book I strive to write.
A message to the idiots who banned this book in Minnesota: Censorship doesn’t solve anything. It only breeds ignorance. So STOP IT.