Pssst, you there. Yes, you. Thanks for travelling to my corner of the internet, I hope it's cozy enough and that you enjoy your stay :)
02/03/2014, part two (page sixty-something to the end) :
Well I'm glad I started with this one and kept The Graveyard Book and James And The Giant Peach for later, because I'm going to need some serious magic to vent all the pent-up feels...!
Rainbow Rowell is a crescendo master. Hands down.
The progression was excruciating. It felt to me that the plot was crawling its way to the end, it was so slow. I got there fuelled only on everyday life details, and budding romance, and all these other things that stand their own in life, or fanfiction, or an autobiography...but a fiction ?
A novel ?
It was torture.
Good torture, and I'm confused over that. What did it ? The tongue in cheek humor ? The spot-on characters ?
She did something, definitely. I didn't get what I was expecting. It looks to me as if the author was making a statement, consciously or not. There are the smart, well-developped, believable, diverse characters. There is Eleanor's wreck of a family. What this story gives you...it's a slice of life, no less, no more. With it I learnt that life can stand on its own as a story with no big literary adornment. Nothing fancy. Instead I think it's the riffraff that stiches it all together, like the stuff in Eleanor's hair and on her clothes, it's pretty in an unassuming way.
It's nothing like the fictions I'm used to reading, romance or not. But to be honest, this little trick worked on me once, but I'm not so sure it'd work a second time. I'd get bored with the repetition. I crave for something more, plot-wise. In a fiction at least.
One thing I have to say about this take on romance though : It's realistic. And I don't mean that in a boring way. I mean it deals with the real thing, the love you may find in life rather than the idealized abomination we get in some fictions, and yet it's still rot-your-teeth cute. Romances like this are important. What I wish more people will notice is, this is true. This is how love is. If you ever fall in love with someone, not in lust, and your relationship gets time to settle a little...this is what it could feel like.
I believe that each love story and each general feeling of love...or bond, is as unique as the persons who form this bond together are. But it's definitely like Eleanor & Park. I think part of the reason readers enjoy romance is because we're looking for a how-to guide to true love, to our happily ever after. I still enjoy romance in fics even though I'm in a relationship and happy. When it's done right, this genre feels as good as fantasy, and it promises you a miracle from real life. I can see the appeal.
But I'm getting sick of the misguided ideas too many romances set in their audience. Some of them are downright dangerous. How is a stalker sexy ? How is abuse, physical or moral, sexy ? It's sickening that I feel the need to be grateful toward a romance novel for being healthy for its readers...Eleanor & Park is a breath of fresh air, because it doesn't lie. I really want more novels like this that manage the balance between respecting the reader and being healthy for her or him; and being cute and smart, funny even.
And I'm disappointed with the cover art for the version I bought, the one you can see with this review. The problem for me here is the complete opposite of the one I pointed out for the illustrations in Roald Dahl's books. This cover is suitable for the readers, but it erases everything that makes this book unique. It even looks to me as if the black figures are a personal jab at Eleanor & Park's identity, and I'm upset that somebody somewhere thought it was necessary to lie about characters I love for who they are. So Eleanor is fat, and not a clean line like the young woman on this cover ? So Park has korean heritage and dresses in black ? As a reader I'm proud that Rainbow Rowell gave us characters who feel like people. Don't take that away from me, I don't want it to be hidden shamefully. I want the cover art to brag about it.
I liked :
The characters / the character development
'Eleanor', Mr Stessman said. 'What a powerful name. It's a queen's name, you know.'
'It's the name of the fat Chipette,' somebody behind Park whispered. Somebody else laughed.
The realistic take on love
The mix-tapes. So cute
I didn't like :
That looser Richie
Hmm...not so much I didn't like, but I was confused by the lack of more action for a good part of the book.
The cover art