“Eleanor and Park” by Rainbow Lowell

April is here, time flies when you are having fun, uh! It seems like spring is coming to Ireland too, and that’s the good news. The bad news is, the world still does not look like a nice place to live. Hence my always present need for some escapism. Hence, Rainbow Lowell.

What is it about?

So we all remember our lovely characters from “Normal People”, who were not really very normal. Neither are Eleanor, or Park. Here the trope is inverted, Park comes from the “normal” family, while Eleanor comes from the troubled one. They are teenagers, and they painfully strike up first a friendship, and then something more. The time setting is the charming Nineties, and there are a lot of references to cool movies and comics.

What makes it good?

Let’s face my main problem first, which is not really a problem, or at least it won’t be for a lot of people. In my fragile emotional state and while confronted by how shit the world is at the moment, I just wanted some good old escapism. Rainbow, Eleanor’s family does not count as good old escapism, since they are all terrible people! This is no real criticism towards Rainbow, really, it was just my mind which could not deal with even this little tragedy. In fairness, it was not all stolen kisses and teenage hormones, but it still is, mainly, a young adults love story.

The representation of teenage feelings is actually very well done. Do you remember when all your feelings were kind of raw, and big, and THERE, written all IN CAPS?! Neither can I, and thank you very much for it. But this is what this novel is, a solitary and troubled girl meets an effortlessly cool (despite what he thinks of himself) nerd, and they like each other very much. VERY MUCH! ALL IN CAPS!

Also, Rainbow got me when talking about the Claremont X-Men era and how much of a sucker Cyclops is. If you don’t know what I am talking about, you do not belong in here. Just joking, but the X-men are cool, and no amount of crap movies will make me change my mind.

The style

Rainbow Lowell’s style is as fresh and lovely to read as you might expect it to be. I believe that somewhere in America, in the Nineties, these people existed and had great conversations about comics and music.

Final Mark

Except for the unexpected tragedy behind our main characters’ lives, I did enjoy it, even if I would have appreciated even more escapism (as I said, “It’s not you, it’s me, Rainbow”). This is a charming young adulty novel and I the fact that I did not enjoy it as much as I would have in a different moment does not make it less so. So this is my slightly guilty face at my final mark, but hey, some novels affect you differently according to when you read them and your state of mind…

6/10

On Goodreads.

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