Wednesday, May 21, 2014

“Eleanor & Park” by Rainbow Rowell – The Power of First Love

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell – Front cover
Eleanor and Park are two young sixteen year-old teenagers in the process of discovering life during the school year of 1986. Neither of them really fits in with the crowd, and they both have one big thing in common: they are desperately in love with each other, and they both know that chances are it won’t last, despite what the moment makes them feel. However, being young, courageous and desperate, they both give in to the temptation and dive head-first into what feels like a love doomed from the very start.

Such is the premise of Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell, and the book is basically the story of how the eponymous characters slowly develop their relationship, how they come to form a connection with one another despite the dismay and disapproval expressed by their friends and family. It is the story of how two isolated and hopeless teenagers find what they so desperately yearn for in each other, of how they choose to simply enjoy the present and reap the opportunities it presents, rather than worry about the inevitable loss looming in the future.

The author does a rather fantastic job at making the whole thing feel a bit like a perfect, dreamy fairytale, one where all the characters are caught up in some kind of trance and drag you into that state with them. The narrative structure is a bit iffy in one aspect, that of a constantly changing point of view; though it is a device which can work when used effectively, in here it felt tacked on at certain times. Apart from that though, the story flowed on beautifully and coherently, seldom making you reread passages or anything of the sort.

All things considered, Eleanor & Park is a rather complete, solid, and bittersweet novel that will take you back to your younger days, being strong in every aspect from the thorough descriptions to the characterizations of the supporting actors of the story. I definitely recommend it to anyone who is looking to read a more realistic story about young love.

Rainbow Rowell

Rainbow Rowell

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Rainbow Rowell is an American author hailing from Nebraska who made her debut in 2011 with a contemporary romantic comedy, Attachments. In 2013 she published two additional novels, Eleanor & Park and Fangirl, both of which received accolades from The New York Times, being classified amongst the best young adult fiction novels released during that year.

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