Saturday, May 10, 2014

you need to read this: Eleanor and Park

Saturday, May 10, 2014

My generally poor efforts at blogging as of late aren't exactly a result of a lack of time.  It is true that the vast majority of my day is spent tending to the needs and desires of a handsome toddler, but he has not yet gone the way of his comrades towards that dreadfully anticipated day, "the dropping of the nap."  Like many many other mothers before me, I have vowed that even when that day shall come, there will still be "quiet time," which I envision (naively I'm sure) as a peaceful hour of solitude. He will "read" quietly in his room and I'll be the queen bee of productivity, making all my calls and washing all the dishes and cleaning all the things....this is a fantasy that I shall choose to perpetuate.

Thankfully, I have not had to put "quiet time" in action, as my little guy still needs and benefits tremendously from his daily nap.  When I'm not tiptoeing about the kitchen planning for dinner or putting toys away in the play room, I often sit down with a cup of coffee (reheated from the morning, of course) and spend a few minutes reading.  

While I haven't read as voraciously as I did before children, I am increasingly finding it to be such a comfort, a more useful and productive thing to do instead of wallowing in the onslaught of social media and the Internet.  Even if I'm reading for pleasure, I don't feel the least bit of guilt that I am wasting my time, which is a lot more than I can say about the half hour I spent looking at swimsuits I won't buy at  

Recently, after FINALLY FINISHING The Luminaries, a great book that is perhaps just a bit too old-fashioned for my current stage in life (when my mind is dominated almost completely by thoughts about my child), I decided to take Lainey's (Elaine Lui, of, of course we are on a first-name basis) recommendation to heart and read Eleanor and Park.  Lainey's recommendations have been 100% solid so far (or at least the ones I have read), but at first glance I didn't expect to love Eleanor and Park.  I'm all about YA fiction, but somehow thought I might be immune to a story that had neither a dystopian future or tragic background to bolster it.  

First of all, I could not have been more wrong.  Eleanor and Park is wonderful.  It's unconventional in a few ways, but that only lends it charm.  There is plenty of emotional heft on its pages, and the eponymous protagonists are both refreshingly unique and infinitely relatable.  I read the whole book on a flight back to San Francisco from Texas, and I've since been admonishing most of the people I know to read it.  While I wouldn't necessarily call it deep and insightful (though it's not without depth and meaning), there is something so warm and familiar about the story that it lingers in your mind long after you've put it down.

A few teases:

--There was something about the music on that tape.  It felt different.  Like, it set her lungs and her stomach on edge.  There was something exciting about it, and something nervous.  It made Eleanor feel like everything, like the world, wasn't what she thought it was.  And that was a good thing.  That was the greatest thing.  

--"And you look like a protagonist."  She was talking as fast as she could think.  "You look like the person who wins in the end.  You're so pretty, and so good." 

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