Happy Saturday, everyone! Can you believe the month is already over?! I feel like February absolutely flew by for me (in a good way). I actually didn't get around to starting the book club book until late last week. I was nervous I wouldn't make it through the whole thing before today because I'm often a fairly slow reader/don't have tons of time to read every week. But, Eleanor & Park turned out to be such a fun, quick read that I blew through it all during two long flights this week. Did you think it was a fast read too?
Before I share any of my thoughts on this book, I do want to warn: THERE WILL BE SPOILERS! So if you haven't finished the book yet, I'd hold off as I'd hate to ruin it for you. 🙂
These are just a few of my thoughts. Feel free to use these as jumping off points for our discussion, or you can start talking about something totally different that you thought about while reading.
1. DID YOU LIKE THE ENDING?!
I feel super conflicted about it. I think my gut reaction was a mix of disappointment and slight confusion. I feel like it's fair to assume that those three words in Eleanor's postcard to Park are, "I love you", but I also think it's vague enough that I didn't feel entirely confident assuming this. So, although it is a happy ending in that Eleanor is safe, it sort of felt a little anticlimactic to me. Not that I necessarily think the book would be better had it ended in a wedding, that didn't seem likely to happen. But it also talks about Romeo and Juliet throughout the story, so I wondered if Rowell would at least leave us with some big final ending. But, maybe that's the point a little bit? What did you think?
2. Eleanor's family situation
For me, it's easy to forget that there are lots of people who grow up in very different family situations than myself. I identified more with Park's family. My parents love each other and love their children. I've always known my parents loved me even if they didn't agree with choices I was making growing up. We had regular teenager problems, but my parents were nothing short of awesome and supportive through it all. We ate dinner together. They taught me to drive a car and took me to get my license. All the "normal" stuff. But it's not normal for everyone. Park experiences this when he is faced with the realties of Eleanor's family. I had a very good friend in high school who grew up in an abusive family. Like Eleanor, she was often in danger but felt trapped because when you're a "kid" with no money, no car, and no one to listen to you, it's hard to get help. So many things that happened to Eleanor throughout the book reminded me of this friend and things she dealt with. I wish no child had to live through situations like that. It's completely unfair. It reminded me that I need to make sure to take opportunities to help others when they come up (and I should probably make them come up more). Sometimes there are opportunities through my church or other organizations, and I should do what I can to help instead of just thinking about it or assuming everyone else is helping so I don't need to.
3. Love is larger than the sum of its parts
Probably one of my favorite things from this book is how Rowell, in my opinion, does a fantastic job of showing how love is always more than the sum of its parts. Like, if you try to break down why you fall in love with someone, it never adds up, right? It doesn't entirely make sense. Watching Eleanor and Park go from two strangers on a school bus who are forced to sit near each other to falling in love and having to be separated by very adult circumstances was sort of amazing. It felt totally natural as you read, but sitting back and thinking how they fall in love, it almost seems too simple or doesn't quite add up. In my experience, that's actually what love is like. It's often awkward and inconvenient, but also inescapable when the real thing comes your way.
If you can't tell, I really enjoyed this book. So glad we read it this month! I will for sure be picking up Rowell's other book sometime soon. Hope you enjoyed the read this month too. And don't forget, next month we're reading, All The Light We Cannot See, so be sure to pick up or check out your copy soon. xo. Emma
Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. Photo edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.