The tragic tale of Eleanor and Park


Madison Szczepanski, Staff Writer

Boys in books are better. The ill-imagined boy is drawn up in the minds of authors everywhere, forcing girls to fantasize about dating that fictional perfection. But in reality, that isn’t necessarily true.

When I was first recommended the book Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell, I saw the bland eggshell white color and mediocre drawing on the cover and I thought about the boredom that I was leading myself into. But I pushed past the cover and began reading.

Typically, I am not one to fall victim to the sappy love stories that litter the shelves of Barnes and Noble. But for this very selection, I made an exception. I swallowed my pride and dove into the novel. Shockingly, I fell in love with every word I mentally breathed in as I read. The smooth sentences slid through my mind, creating mental images that would not soon be forgotten. I constantly felt waves of varied emotions that included love, joy, and more often than I would have preferred, sorrow. The non-stop suffering of these two 1980’s teenagers had me stuck to the pages of this book, and I couldn’t seem to remove myself.

The two misfits featured in the story are challenged every day of high school to deal with bullying, having the wrong face, and stereotypes of which they happen to display perfectly. As I made progress reading, it became harder and harder to tear myself away from this literary masterpiece.

Eleanor Douglas and Park Sheridan slowly fall into a deep and unbreakable love that is forbidden by Eleanor’s abusive step-father. The unlikely infatuation that these especially awkward teenagers have for each other had me intrigued. This modern interpretation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is not a story you would want to stray from. Park’s loving and incredibly awkward personality had me cringing at the words he would try to say, but also savoring every sentence of his passionate affection.

The tragic events that occur in this book pile themselves on top of the happier moments. In one way, it hurts me to read about all the suffering my favorite character is going through. But in another, it draws me in further and further as I await the spectacular ending I predict I will endure. As I reach the end of the story, I am almost saddened that my journey filled with emotions galore will soon be ending. Still though, I am tempted to continue reading to reach the glorious closure I have predicted.

The conclusion of what is now my favorite novel comes into view and my simple smile turns into tears. The fictional people that I had adapted into my daily thoughts are going through more suffering than I thought they could handle. My sense of peace is suddenly ripped from my body as a continue to replay the drama that has been occurring. As the tragically beautiful story comes to a close, I await the announcement of a second book that is never going to come.