Eleanor, an eccentric redhead with horrible wardrobe, was back from being kicked out from home for a year. She was the new girl. She was a target, well…, except for one particular boy.
Park, or weird Asian dude, knew how to lay low. He kept his head down, out of harm’s way, until this one girl poked her head into his comics from the bus seat next to him.
And that was the start of some little thing in a small town, in the fall of 1986.
The story is genuinely an undeniable, balanced mix of cuteness overload and a very real, and sometimes heartbreaking situation. Throughout the story these sixteen-year-olds’ mature through everyday social, family and identity conflicts as well as a first love that they thought was doomed, like the rest of first loves anywhere else. And of course, it goes without saying that the character and chemistry development of Eleanor and Park was the beating heart of the story.
Eleanor was the eldest of five siblings in a broken family with a violent and abusive stepfather to handle. In their high school, Eleanor immediately stood out. She was bullied–hard. It’s easy to say her life was the opposite of easy. However, this context was what formed the development of the plot, Eleanor and Park’s romance and the conflict that came in the way.
Park had to live up to his parent’s expectations and worked towards becoming their ideal adult. It was possible when he met Eleanor that his character became more defined and grounded, as he stood up for himself, against his dad, and Eleanor’s bullies (you should’ve seen his protective side).
The captivating blend of depressing, yet realistic social issues, and old school young love, created a more in-depth relationship between the two. There were secret tender little moments they spent together that cloaked their unconscious desperation for freedom.
The objects that appeared in the story such as the typical school bus, cassette tapes, headphones, comic books, the emo concepts and the 80’s fashion created a sense of nostalgia, a sentimental feeling the Eleanor and Park had for each other, and that we, the reader, have for every sweet moment, geeky joke and unspoken word that passed between. The music and cassette tapes belonged to both of them and related closely to the concept of their lives at the moment, feeling like a song.
Although the story was told from a third person perspective, it switched focus between Eleanor and Park often. It seemed like it was told from first-person point of view because of the distinct narrating voice between the two and the very intimate descriptions of their feelings.
I would recommend this book for those of you who are interested in contemporary romance novels. I believe there is a perfect balance of those adorable awkward moments, the very touching and heartbreaking ones, and a bit of suspense, as expected from Eleanor and Park against the world.
P.S. tears will be shed
Featured artwork by Paper pie http://paperpie.tumblr.com/post/63338230779/a-fun-cover-project-for-a-great-book