Were you with us on Twitter this past Tuesday, when Jim and I chatted with a bunch of folks about the first half of Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park? As promised, we want to take the conversation to the blog as well, for those who couldn’t make it. If you want to read it without the SPOILERS you might find below, why not give it a read in the next two weeks, then come back and check out part one’s conversation here, and join us on May 14th at 6 p.m. EST on Twitter (#EandPdglm)?
I’d say the subject that most dominated our discussion was the 1980s setting. Jim and I both felt that though we love how it plays out in the book, it might have given us some pause as agents considering the book in the slush pile: as Jim asked, “Do kids care about the 80s?” Fortunately, we had some researchers in the chat to uncover the answer for us. Anecdotal evidence from Susanna Donato (@SusannaDonato) and DGLM client Brian Bliss (@brainbliss) suggests that teens didn’t mind the choice, might even have been intrigued by it, but would not have cared about the music referenced, which is the source of much of the bond between the two characters. I was perplexed when Bryan reported that his teen creative writing students wouldn’t have bothered to look up the bands on Park’s mixtapes, until I realized that I didn’t bother to look up the comics that take up an equal amount of the narrative, if not more. Of course, I’ve heard of them, but it doesn’t mean I fully understand the context. In the end, I don’t feel like I’m missing anything.
After all, that moment where Park first realizes Eleanor is reading his comics along with him and stops to let her catch up has plenty of impact no matter what. That was one of Kellie Lovegrove (@k_love671)’s favorite parts of the book. Other favorite moments in the first half included: the very end of the first half, which made Susanna’s heart race. She also loved when Park asked his grandmother for batteries for his birthday so he could give them to Eleanor. Jim swooned over “You look like a protagonist…You look like a person who wins in the end.” And for me, the line referenced in the title of this blog entry, which I loved so much I ran across the room to get a post-it to flag it.
So if you couldn’t make it, tell me, what was YOUR favorite part? And what did you think of the time period? Do you have the same sense of dread about whatever Richie reveal is coming our way in the second half?
On May 14th at 6 p.m. EST, Jim (@JimMcCarthy528) and I (@LaurenAbramo) will reconvene at #EandPdglm to talk with everyone about the rest of the book. If you haven’t gotten started yet, please jump on in! It’s a pretty quick, short, wonderful read. (Though Jim and I were rooting for a contrarian to come along and mix it up—are you that person? Come tell us why!) I can’t wait to find out how the rest of the book will unravel.
And in case you want to catch up so you can join us next time, here’s a handy dandy widget with all the good stuff to come out of our chat under the #EandPdglm hashtag: