Eleanor and Park
Last week was a good week, with both kids home for spring break.
Walker received and greatly appreciated a giant squid, sewed by Freshhell‘s daughter, as one of his birthday presents. As another part of the celebration, we took him to play lazer tag, which was as fun as I remembered it from the last time Ron and I played, 25 years ago. We all watched the Veronica Mars movie for a second time (as Kickstarter backers, we got a download) and found it immensely satisfying. There were two birthday cakes and one game of telephone pictionary that culminated in drawings of Kermit in chains.
One day Eleanor and I had time to walk around a Barnes and Noble in Columbus, and I succumbed to the temptation to buy two Rainbow Rowell books, Eleanor & Park and Fangirl, so we could read them together (and because one of them had her name in the title). As it turned out, though, Eleanor had such a pile of good books for her luggage (among them some of my favorites from college–Bill, The Galactic Hero and What Entropy Means To Me) that she didn’t end up taking back either of the Rowell books, so I started reading Eleanor & Park and finished it very quickly, as it’s both easy to read and a compelling Young Adult story.
Eleanor and Park are in high school. They seem an unlikely couple, but they fall in love. There are wonderful moments; I particularly enjoyed the one when one of their teachers assigns them the memorization of a poem: “Brains love poetry. It’s sticky stuff.”
I like the way Eleanor never tells anyone why she dresses the way she does, especially when her father asks “is that what all the cool kids are wearing these days?” and she “looked down at her giant white shirt, her fat paisley tie, and her half-dead purple corduroys to say ‘yup….This is pretty much our uniform.'”
There are a few nice moments of teenage realization for Park, who “thought he was over caring what people thought about him. He’d thought that loving Eleanor proved that. But he kept finding new pockets of shallow inside himself.”
Lovely as it was to have both kids home for a week, there were a couple of times when I had to remember that my kids are not all the way grown up. Reading Eleanor & Park was a good reminder of that, because both of the title characters had good hearts but young heads. And it ends happily.