"[P]eople want to remember what it's like to be young," I can't sum up it any better than Park Sheridan did on page 45. Why did I like–close to love–Rainbow Rowell's sophomore novel? Because, somewhere deep within this calloused jerk facade, there's a person who remembers his youth, and remembers what it's like to be in love.
Reading Eleanor & Park is close to having sex with an Elliot Smith song. No matter the sadness behind the words, nothing read is ever this beautiful.
Despite it's typical teenager drama/romance story, Rainbow–isn't that just a great name?–mixes in popular culture like a pro. It's the adolescent version of Love is a Mixtape or something written by Chuck Klosterman. And the fact that it's set in 1986–I was only three at the time, mind you–makes it even better. Because I recall the time before iPods and Pandora and Spotify and iTunes, where compilations took heart and patience, not some drag and drop routine. Even though most teenagers will never appreciate mix tapes, they should appreciate the tale.
Here's a bit of confession time: Very few writers have managed what Rainbow Rowell has, making me well up with tears. Congratulations, Rainbow. Congratulations.
Eleanor & Park is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. It's currently on sale for Kindle, and is available for Nook.