What Do You Say About A Great Book You Never Want to Look at Again?

What Do You Say About A Great Book You Never Want to Look at Again?

I just read Rainbow Rowell’s second novel, Eleanor and Park.  I loved her first novel, Attachments, and I read through this new book very quickly.  It’s set in high school, in 1986, and it’s the story of an unlikely romance between a geeky half-Korean boy and a poor, offbeat girl from a disastrous home.

It’s incredibly well-written and very powerful.  It transported me straight back to high school.  And that’s the problem, for me, with this book.  I HATED high school.  If I was offered $10 million to go back to being 16 again and reliving it, I’d tear up the check.  And, looking back objectively, it wasn’t really that bad at all.  But at the time,  in my head, where everything that happened to me was the most horrible, tragic, awful thing that ever happened, or ever could happen to anyone, ever, in the whole history of the world, and no one else knew what it was like (except for everyone else my age, who felt exactly the same way!), it was an unending nightmare of misery.

And this book brings that feeling home expertly.  Rowell’s writing is beautiful, and also clever.  The characters are compelling and feel real.  She really does put the reader right back there in 10th grade.  She does a masterful job of it.  The only problem is, I don’t want to go.

On the other hand, if high school wasn’t the most miserable time of your life (or if it was, but you’re more mature and together than me and can look back on it without suffering panic attacks), you’ll absolutely love this book, and you ought to read it immediately.

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