Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
My Rating: 5/5 Stars
Nothing beats young love. Nothing. That first kiss, the newness of it, the way your tongue combines with hers, and you’re ready to scream and run through the halls, pounding on lockers as you make your way to the principal’s office, and you’re convinced there’s no such thing in the world, no words to describe this wonderful, penetrating sensation. No one else has experienced what you’re feeling right now, at this particular moment, instant really, when two worlds collide, and your heart stops for a second, and then another, and you feel so much, so much that it hurts, and maybe you’re ready to burst, from this goodness and wonderfulness. You’re fucking ecstatic, filled with hope and pride, and you’re like a freight train ready to collide. ELEANOR & PARK made me feel all of that in 336 pages, and probably a hell of a lot more. It took me about a day to process all of my emotions, and this sticky goodness that attached itself to my beating heart, and it’ll probably take me a few more days to come back to reality.
When the novel first started, it wasn’t a match made in heaven. In fact, I didn’t like Eleanor, and Park wasn’t much better. Even the first time they sat together on the bus, it was more out of pity than any real emotional connection. As for the back and forth perspective, I’ll admit I wasn’t all that into it at first either. It seemed too quick and fleeting at times, and then it all seemed to fall perfectly into place, like the stars and moon and heaven aligned. Like this novel, and my life, and maybe the constellations aligned to bring us together, and the dialogue proved quicker and sharper than I could have possibly hoped, and the story sped up like a locomotive, and my mind went into overdrive, as the pages flew by. And I read the whole damn thing in one day. That ought to tell you something right there, because normally I spread my novels out over at least a couple of days. Sometimes longer.
And then we reached the climax and finale. That ending: I feel like my life just ended.
I feel nothing and everything at the same time. Like the best relationship of my life just ended, and I had no say in the matter, and now I need a box of antidepressants and maybe an entire bar of chocolate and an ice cream cone. Like I can’t stop feeling, like the whole world is filled with this energy that I’ve harnessed for myself, and that I can’t contain it even if I wanted to. But I don’t want to contain it. I don’t want any of it to stop or end, because I might never feel this way again. It spans excited and happy, pain and sorrow, sadness and anger, empty and raw. When will this emotional roller-coaster end?