It was my turn to pick the book for book club this month and I chose Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. I’d been hearing great things about this book since it came out earlier this year, but I rarely turn to young adult fiction when I have unread, uh, adult fiction on my list. I have to read something if we’re reading it for book club – except when I tell myself that I don’t have to finish a book if I really hate it, which was the case with The Orphan Master’s Son this year – so I really picked it so I would have an excuse to have to read it.
I read Eleanor & Park within 24 hours of buying it at the bookstore.* I imagine I would have devoured it with the same speed had I read it as a teenager. It made me feel like a teenager again. I saw a lot of my younger self in the main characters, especially Park – confident in a limited way, smart but still naive. There were a few aspects of the book that didn’t totally jive with me, but they didn’t get in the way of how much I enjoyed the experience of reading it. (Really, my biggest complaint is that I wanted to know more about the minor characters and their pasts, which is not such a bad thing.)
I would recommend this book to anyone who can stand reliving what it’s like to be young and maybe in love. Eleanor & Park is worth it.
*When I shop for books in the real world, I go to WORD in Greenpoint. I saw Rowell’s latest, Fangirl, on the shelf there next to Eleanor & Park and I’m looking forward to picking it up to read over my holiday break.