The Real Kind of Love

The Real Kind of Love

Sabrina Lang, Reporter

Why and how do you pick a book? Do you pick it because of the creative cover? Because of the popularity? Maybe you just pick the book because it’s thin, you’re required to read a book, and you’re all about that bare minimum.

The way we view reading often leads us to overlook a book that could change our lives and our way of thinking, that could that could even really make a difference. My freshman year of high school I made one of the best decisions I could have possibly made by reading the book Eleanor and Park.

Eleanor and Park may sound like a romance novel, but It’s more than that, though. The book makes more sense when we get a feel for the author, and the life she lead. Rainbow Rowell, who wrote the book in 2012, was born in 1973 to hippie parents, which could explain their choice of name for Rainbow. Rainbow has taken up kind of a hippie life herself.

A lot of times she writes about teenagers and what they go through. For example, she writes how they’re treated at school and the peer pressure to fit in, even though you want to be yourself. She also touches base with her characters’ family lives. As a child of the  late 70’s and early 80’s, Rowell’s books generally take place during that time period, so sometimes for younger audiences it can be hard to relate.

One thing that was hard to relate to in the book Eleanor and Park was a walkman. Park, who couldn’t function without music, loves his walkman. (A walkman is a portable cassette player.) The first part of the book places Park on the bus being his isolated self and listening to his beloved walkman. The way Rowell describes Park Sheridan makes him sound like a ninja in Converse. Park is Korean and likes to keep to himself. He really considers himself an outcast, only maintaining one or two friendships.

Then one day, Eleanor steps on the bus and his whole world turns upside down. Eleanor Douglas comes from a home life not ideal for any teenager. With an evil stepfather and generally disoriented mother, Eleanor lives in an upside down Cinderella story. I think that’s a big reason why I like this book. It’s not just another Cinderella story. It’s a story about a chubby redhead who wears men’s clothes and is actually insanely smart and a Korean boy who loves music and comics and does not care one bit what you think of who he loves or why.

There’s a part in the book between Eleanor and Park’s mom that really spoke to me.Park’s mom tries to reach out and connect with Eleanor, but it goes completely wrong. Being a hairdresser and stylist, Park’s mom gives Eleanor a makeover. Eleanor cried. She wasn’t trying to fool anyone. A little mascara and some hair product wasn’t going to make her beautiful. She knew that, and Park knew that, but that’s not why he cares about her so much. He likes her because she’s real. She doesn’t fake anything, not the way she feels or sees life.

I don’t know if they’re in love. I mean, they’re teenagers. How can you know at such a young age? But they do have an unbreakable bond. This book isn’t about your typical Romeo finding the misunderstood Juliet. No, this book is about the underdogs and who they really are. It puts their lives in perspective. It touches base with the things no one likes to talk about like poverty and harassment. This book reminded me how lucky I am to have what I have even if it’s not the best. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone. This book will make you cry, make you laugh, make you think. It puts life in perspective, and makes you a little more understanding of those around you. This book is definitely a solid 9.5/10.