Confession: I read this book months ago.
While details of the story might be fuzzy, how I felt about it isn’t. I devoured this book, so consumed by the relationship of Eleanor and Park that I stayed up into the wee hours, finishing it in a couple of days. I recommended it to anyone who hadn’t already been charmed by the quirky characters and the innocence of first love.
This is why I love books; how it resonates – or doesn’t – with the reader varies from person to person. It’s dependent on their life experiences, who they are, what they believe, what makes them feel. For Katie C., this book didn’t resonate, a totally legitimate reaction. But for me, it took hold within the first few pages.
I was what some might call a late bloomer. I didn’t have my first kiss until I was 16, my first boyfriend until 17. This kind of young love that bonded Eleanor and Park is something I’m unfamiliar with. And that might be the reason it fascinated me as much as it did – their story was foreign to my high school experience.
I had crushes, sure. But nothing close to the type of relationship that the main characters experienced. For Eleanor, Park was a much needed refuge from her incredibly challenging home life. For Park, Eleanor was someone who understood him like no one in his life could.
For some this book might remind them of what their first love was like; for others – like me – it allows them to step into a love they never got to experience.
Eleanor and Park left their mark on me – it’s a book I won’t soon forget, no matter how long it’s been since I read it.