Love story

Friday, November 22, 2013

I have a friend who's always reading and who, when she says she loved a book, I know I will as well. Her latest recommendation was eleanor & park, one of the most moving love stories I've read in a long time.

Eleanor and Park are two 16-year-olds - a redheaded girl and an Asian boy - who are forced to sit together on the school bus. Neither of them fit in in their 1980s high school in a working-class neighborhood in Omaha, Nebraska. But they slowly realize they share a love of comics and music and, most important, a sense of humor, and their friendship becomes something more.

eleanor & park falls under the category of "young adult," but I'd hope anyone reading would be at least an "old young adult." The language is harsh, and Eleanor's home life, particularly her relationship with her alcoholic and abusive stepfather, is disturbing, to say the least. Yet the relationship between these two teens is innocent and tender and so true, and I was rooting for them from the minute they met until the last page.

"Nothing before you counts," he said. "And I can't even imagine an after."
She shook her head. "Don't."
"Don't talk about after."
"I just meant that ... I want to be the last person who ever kisses you, too ... That sounds bad, like a death threat or something. What I'm trying to say is, you're it. This is it for me."
"Don't." She didn't want him to talk like this. She'd meant to push him, but not this far.
"Eleanor ..."
"I don't want to talk about an after."
"That's what I'm saying, maybe there won't be one."
"Of course there will." She put her hands on his chest, so that she could push him away if she had to. "I mean ... God, of course there will. It's not like we're getting married, Park."
"Not now."
"Stop." She tried to roll her eyes, but it hurt.
"I'm not proposing," he said. "I'm just saying ... I love you. And I can't imagine stopping."

Have a happy weekend.


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