Sunday, January 5, 2014

Eleanor and Park

I recently read the cutest book ever.

The lovely Leann and I were packing for our two day trip to Houston – to watch the Gophers play Syracuse in the Texas Bowl. I was all ready to go and was flipping through the Kindle, looking to see what was there that I hadn’t read. (I rarely find time to read anymore, so I was looking forward to sinking my teeth into something good.) There were a few things I had downloaded a long time ago and couldn’t remember what they were about, so I decided to check out what was on the Amazon store. I was thinking it might be fun to read something sci-fi, but then I saw the editor’s picks section and began to scroll through that. It was lots of literary fiction, and I was kinda meh, but then one cover caught my eye.

So simple. A boy and a girl tied together by their headphones. It hooked me, and after a cursory look at the back cover blurb, I saw it was consistently receiving four and five star reviews. And with a Kindle price of $7.99?


So there I was an airplane, an incredibly tiny airplane that was three seats across, too short for me to stand up in, and with a disconcerting steward who sounded exactly like a Transylvanian vampire (I vant to suck your blauhd). I put in my earplugs – because, loud engine right next to my ear – pulled out my Kindle and started reading. And couldn’t put it down. I was reading every spare second, right up until finally finishing it around 1 AM on the day we left.

Eleanor and Park is a beautiful and sweet book that tugged on every single one of my heartstrings. It takes place in Omaha Nebraska, in the mid-80's. Park comes from the perfect family, is good-looking, but his half Korean heritage makes him an outsider (it is the 80's, you know, before that was hot). Eleanor comes from a completely broken family and is a bit on the chubby side.

The book is all about how they fall in love – over music and comic books and of being outsiders. It’s not just first time teenage love, but the real deal kind of love – head over heels soulmate love – with all the ups and downs you to expect, and quite a few you don’t.

It’s a gripping, lovely read.

1 comment:

Lisa said...

I agree, Shawn.

Once I started it, I couldn't put it down.

Plus, I was pretty much the same age as the main characters when the novel is set, and I had just moved from Maine to central Illinois. The novel pushed all my I'm-new-and-scared-and-I-will-keep-myself-sane-with-the-Smiths buttons. She nailed the cultural references.

Plus, I appreciated her skill at switching between Park and Eleanor in the third person limited POVs.