Tag Archives: Rainbow Rowell

Book Review: Landline by Rainbow Rowell (3/5)

5 Jun

I waited a long time to read this one because I didn’t know if I would like it. I found a copy at the library book sale. It had been taken out of circulation after the book started being checked out less. I hadn’t found time to read it so I’m just now getting around the audio version of the book. I was wasn’t completely right about my feelings of it, but it is probably my least favorite Rowell book.

Cover image via Goodreads

Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Other books by Rainbow Rowell reviewed on this blog:

Attachments 5/5
Fangirl 3/5
Carry On 5/5
Eleanor & Park 4/5

Summary from Goodreads:

Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble; it has been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply — but that almost seems beside the point now.

Maybe that was always beside the point.

Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her — Neal is always a little upset with Georgie — but she doesn’t expect him to pack up the kids and go home without her.

When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything.

That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts…

Is that what she’s supposed to do?

Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened?

I’ve read Rowell’s fantasy and I’ve read her realistic fiction and liked both. I wasn’t ready for a hybrid, though. The whole magical phone thing really got me. In Carry On, I was ready for magic and how it would affect the story. In this story, it wasn’t explained and there wasn’t a culture that normalized it. It was too much for me to buy into. I liked Georgie and Neal and Seth and Heather and all the other characters, but the phone really ruined it for me. I couldn’t suspend my disbelief in a phone that talks to the past.

Rowell does an amazing job of building realistic characters and that’s why she kills contemporary fiction. I thought all of the characters were very realistic and I really enjoyed Seth. I feel like I was supposed to hate him, but he reminded me of friends from college and it was hard to dislike him. The little girls were great and Heather was super fun. As much as Georgie’s mom seemed like a caricature, I’ve met women like her. It was all great.

Seth was my favorite character. I liked his confidence and sense of humor but also his dedication to Georgie and their show. I would have been one of the girls swooning over him from a distance in college. Spoiler warning for the rest of this paragraph! Skip to the next to avoid it. I didn’t like how he admitted having feelings for Georgie at the end. That really bothered me. It was implied but I don’t think it ever needed to be spoken and I think it would really have ruined the relationship between him and Georgie which put their future success at risk. I wish he hadn’t said anything and it seemed a bit out of character for him to do it.

I could understand where Georgie’s problems came from. Even having only been married four years, I can see how the magic of dating is not a daily occurrence in my marriage. I’m sure this is not uncommon. I hope I’m never as blindly committed to my job as Georgie, but I can see how it would happen. This is a very relatable problem and I hope it doesn’t take a magic phone to solve it if I ever do run into a similar situation. I don’t think I can count on one.

Rainbow Rowell
Image via the author’s website

I liked Heather’s story (spoilers, again!). I think it would be really hard to tell my mom if I thought I was gay and the way she handled it seemed real to me. It didn’t surprise me that her mom already knew, either. The pugs being born bringing the girls together was cute. I liked that touch.

If the phone had been removed, I would have liked the story a lot more. I think it could have been. I think there could have been some home videos or letters or pictures that stirred up memories and gave Georgie the same sense of urgency and reflections that the phone did. It took the book into magical realism and that’s a genre I don’t much care for.

The audiobook I listened to was narrated by Rebecca Lowman. I thought she did well with the girls’ voices and the guys without being distracting. Sometimes a man’s voice is too over-the-top in an audiobook and with how much Neal talked in this one, it’s good that it wasn’t. She gave the women in the story just enough difference to make them distinguishable, too.

Georgie didn’t mean to put her job before her family, but that’s what happened. I don’t think our priorities get that out of whack on purpose. I know there are times I’ve put school ahead of my husband and it was never an intentional decision. The trick is to recognize when you’ve done this and make things right. It might not be as extreme as what Georgie went through, but saying you’re sorry is always important.

Writer’s Takeaway: Rowell’s contemporary characters knock it out of the park again! I think adding a fantastical element was a bit of a risk for her and it didn’t work for me. She’s had great success with contemporary fiction and I don’t know what made her deviate from that. Personally, I hope she doesn’t again. It’s risky for a writer to move to another genre. Rowell has crossed over adult and YA but maybe magical realism is a bit too far for her.

I liked the book but the premise wasn’t for me. Three out of Five stars.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Related Posts:
Landline – Rainbow Rowell | the book goddess
Review #3: Landline by Rainbow Rowell | forwards and bookwords
Book Review: Landline by Rainbow Rowell | Jen’s Pen Den

WWW Wednesday, 31-May-2017

31 May

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

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The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


Currently reading: I’m so sorry to say that I’ve put A Son of the Circus by John Irving aside for a while. I have some book club selections I need to get through first. I have all of the intentions in the world of finishing this one up and it makes me really sad to put it on hold.
I made some moderate progress with Love in the Elephant Tent by Kathleen Cremonesi but I’m wondering where this book is going because I’m 1/3 of the way through and they’re not in the elephant tent anymore! Is there another elephant tent coming?
My drive to work is better with Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris. I’m about half way through it now and it’s been a good distraction from traffic.
I started reading Tigerman by Nick Harkaway, one of my book club selections. It’s OK but making me miss the Irving. I was at my parent’s cottage this weekend and found some good time to read.
My husband and I started a car-trip audiobook. I hope this one doesn’t take as long as some of our earlier ones! This time it’s Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie. So far, we’re really enjoying it. As much as I have my suspicions about who it could be, I know Poirot will keep me guessing until the end!
I’ve just started Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay on audio. I love the cover of this one and saw it as a popular book club pick for a while so I’m interested to see where it goes!

Recently finished: I was able to wrap up Landline by Rainbow Rowell over the holiday weekend! I’m so glad to have finished a book. With all the ones I have in process, I’m not sure how quickly I’ll finish another one, haha. I think I’m only missing Rowell’s novella now before I’ve read all of her work. I plan to have a review for this one up early next week.
No reviews this week but as I said, Landline will be coming next week so there’s one to look forward to!

Reading Next: With so much going on, I don’t really want to think ahead, haha. I do know my next book club selection will be Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Rober Pirsig. I could only find a print version of this book so I’ll be reading it in that format after Tigerman.


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 24-May-2017

24 May

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

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The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


Currently reading: I made a push to work on A Son of the Circus by John Irving over the weekend and got maybe 40 pages in. I’m over page 400 now but I’m thinking this might have to go on hold for a bit so I can get through some book club selections in time for the meetings. I hate doing that, but sometimes social pressure get the best of my reading schedule!
I had some technical difficulties with Love in the Elephant Tent by Kathleen Cremonesi over the weekend but they’ve now been solved and I’m back at this one. I’ve had a bit of lunch reading time but not too much. Hope to make some steady progress going forward.
Landline by Rainbow Rowell has been fun. I’m not as engaged as I have been with other Rowell books, but it’s still enjoyable. It’s great for runs and cooking time!
I’m making slow progress with Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris only because I don’t drive a lot. Having this one limited to my car is a bit slow but I’m still liking the humor. I’ll keep enjoying it. The short essays help with my short drives!

Recently finished: Nothing new finished but two book reviews posted! The first is for Terra Incognita by Ruth Downie. This is the second in the series and I really enjoyed both so far. I hope to keep going with these as they’re all on mobile audio. Yay! I gave the book 4 out of 5 stars.
My second review is for Ellen DeGeneres’s Seriously… I’m Kidding. I listened to this on audio and my review may have been different if I’d read the book but I gave the audio 4 out of 5 stars.

Reading Next: Unfortunately, it’s going to have to be Tigerman by Nick Harkaway. I really wanted to get to The Circle but school has been more crazy than expected. I don’t think I’ll make it to the theaters to see the movie anyway. Sad day!


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 17-May-2017

17 May

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

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The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


Currently reading: I wish I had more time to read A Son of the Circus by John Irving now that I’m enjoying it. School is very fast-paced for this 6-week course and I’m spending a lot of my free time reading for that class. I hate to push books off, but school does, unfortunately, come first.
I’m finding more time to read at work during lunch than I’m getting at home. As such, I’m making decent progress with Love in the Elephant Tent by Kathleen Cremonesi. It’s a little slow, but I’m still enjoying the story of Kathleen’s time in the circus and her time with the elephants.
I started two new audiobooks. The first is Landline by Rainbow Rowell. It was the next eaudio I could download. I picked up a physical copy of this book at a library sale and I’m been wanting to read it for a while. I’ll get to it much sooner as an audiobook than if I’d waited to read the physical book.
I picked up an audiobook for my car, too. I want to get to some of those that have long hold times. I decided to go with Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris. I tried reading a Sedaris book in college and couldn’t stand it but when I listened to it, I was in love. I’m hoping this is the same.

Recently finishedSeriously… I’m Kidding by Ellen Degeneres was a quick, fun read. I’m glad I listened to this one because, like Sedaris, having the author read it added a lot of fun and humor that reading the words on the page couldn’t add. My review will be up next week so look forward to that.
No reviews this week! I’ll have another one up tomorrow, though, so don’t fret!

Reading Next: I know I’ve had The Circle on here for a few weeks but I got another book club book I have to read first! Unfortunately, I’m going to replace my next up with Tigerman by Nick Harkaway. I’m hoping this is a quick read so I can get to Eggers soon! I’m putting off seeing the movie until I can read this book.


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Book Review: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell (5/5)

8 Feb

I read Fangirl. It made me so angry at the end that I almost threw it across my bedroom, but I read it. I imagine I’m not alone when I thought that Simon Snow sounded suspiciously similar to Harry Potter. As in it could have been the same with changed names in a lot of the snippets we read of it. So when Rowell announced she was writing a Simon Snow book, how could I resist? I got the ebook copy (out of luck, I swear) and flew through it, ignoring book reviews for a weekend which put me behind. Sad face.

Book cover via Goodreads

Book cover via Goodreads

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Other books by Rainbow Rowell reviewed on my blog:
Eleanor & Park
Attachments (and a Book Club Reflection)
Fangirl

Summary from Goodreads:

Simon Snow is the worst chosen one who’s ever been chosen.

That’s what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he’s probably right.

Half the time, Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he sets something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around wearing Simon’s face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here—it’s their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up.

So yes, it started off sounding way too much like Harry Potter. An average-Joe chosen one who’s orphaned at a young age is being mentored by his school’s headmaster to fight the greatest evil of the age. I may or may not have read seven books about this already. His best friend is a fiendishly smart girl and the person who takes care of animals around campus is an unlikely friend of his. Sounding more and more like a set of eight movies I own. But there’s the internet. And a girlfriend. And a vampire roommate. Okay, somethings are different. The more I got into the plot, the more different it was. I do believe Rowell was inspired by HP fics, but she did a great job of twisting the world into something completely her own. (Side note, there are as of writing this 99 Fan Fics on fanfiction.net about Carry On. Just think about that.) Baz was a great character, but this is coming from a Malfoy fangirl. I liked Agatha because she didn’t have a direct parallel in the cannon (and yes, I’m thinking of it that way). Is this getting too Fangirl now? I’ll move on.

I thought the characters were alright. One of the things that make writing Fan Fiction a gateway to writing original fiction is that you can play with plot and not worry about developing characters to start. It’s hard for me to think of Rowell’s characters in this novel as truly original because of that. I like Agatha, as I said, but the others had a parallel strong enough to recognize and it’s hard to say she developed them well or not. I stand neutral on this topic.

Baz was my favorite character by far. He had to put up with a lot of crap from everyone around him and his wall of sarcastic superiority made sense. His family life was heart-wrenching and every time his mother was brought up, I was sad for him. I thought it was very telling of his upbringing when he said his father was more comfortable with his vampirism than his homosexuality. (Side note, vampirism being a real word makes me love English.) I knew this was going to be a slash story so I wasn’t surprised by his inner monologue or the direction of the story, but if kissing between two men is something you don’t want to read, then I would skip this story as it’s prominent.

As I’ve felt before, it’s hard to relate to the characters in fantastical novels such as Carry On. I can relate to Baz having a crush on someone very close to him and not being able to say something. I can relate to Simon and Agatha being in a relationship because they felt like they had to (one from high school, not currently). There were other small things, but fighting a gigantic power that’s threatening to end the subculture that I live in is not something I’ve encountered.

Rainbow Rowell Image via the author's website

Rainbow Rowell
Image via the author’s website

I enjoyed the relationship between Baz and Simon more than I thought I would. They were much more mature than the eighteen-year-olds they were written to be and I could relate to that ‘finally’ feeling of being with someone you’ve thought about for years (on Baz’s end) and the rush of not knowing what you’re getting into from Simon’s end. They balanced each other well in a way I could relate to. My husband and I are much the same way.

I disliked the Mage with a passion. From the beginning, when I was supposed to see him as a leader and ally, I disliked him. His story upset me the most when it would come up. I’ll try to avoid spoiling it here, but I’m upset Simon never knew the full story. I wish there had been a way for him to know about the Mage’s past in the end because I think it would have given him peace.

 

There are two obvious themes from this book, the first of which is sacrifice. Simon is forced to give up something dear to him that defines who he is for the greater good. Losing it makes him feel damaged and lacking and it becomes hard for him to be happy about what he did because of his personal loss.Even with his sacrifice, there are gains in his life that he overlooks. Sacrificing something doesn’t mean losing everything and Simon still has that journey to go. (I hope I didn’t ruin anything there, I tried not to.) The second is being true to yourself. Baz and Simon struggled with this the most, but Agatha and Nick had to fight it as well. Agatha disliked everything about her magickal life. She loved the summers with her Normal friends and horses and knew returning to that would make her happy. Nick had gone against logic to become what he wanted to be (again, being vague) and had to live with consequences he didn’t foresee. If he’d been happy with who he was in the first place, the drama he had to put up with and the pain and isolation he surely felt would have been nonexistent.

 

Writer’s Takeaway: What a fun book. Honestly, I read it so fast because it was fun. This is Rowell’s strength more than anything else. She writes books that I enjoy reading because the journey is worth it. This isn’t serious literature by any means and that’s okay. There’s an audience for a book like this and I’m glad she published it because I think it could pave a path for other ‘slash’ stories to become popular. Rowell put her neck out there with this book, breaking from her usual genres and I’m glad she was brave enough to do that.

I gobbled up this fun book in eight days. I loved it. Five out of Five stars.

Until next time, write on.

 

PS- This song was stuck in my head the whole time I was reading the book.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Related Posts:
“Carry On” by Rainbow Rowell | Miriam Joy Reads
Carry On by Rainbow Rowell Bookmark | 24hryabookblog
7 Reasons Carry On is Going to Be Awesome | Twist in the Taile

Challenge Update, January 2016

1 Feb

January went a lot better than expected. Being off of school afforded me a lot of time to read and I took it! You can look at my progress at any time on my challenge page.

Books finished in January:

Yes Please // Amy Poehler
I Am Malala // Malala Yousafzai
One Hundred Years of Solitude // Gabriel Garcia Marquez
A Darker Shade of Magic // V.E. Schwab
Carry On // Rainbow Rowell
Dead Wake // Erik Larson

I’ve written all the remaining reviews and you’ll see them come up over the next two weeks.

When Are You Reading? Challenge

4/12
This is my challenge to read a book from 13 different time periods. You can read about it here. I’m off to a good start but I’m not getting cocky about it. My first few books of the year tend to fill in a couple different categories. I know I’ve got a 1920-1939 book and a 1980-1999 book coming up, but I’m not sure about the rest of them. It’s way too early to plan but I’m feeling really confident about this challenge this year.

Goodreads Challenge

6/45
Maybe going down was a bad idea. I’m still doing awesome with these and am currently three books ahead of schedule. It’s true I have less commuting time to listen to audio and it’s very likely this will change when school starts up again. We’ll see how this goes.

Book of the Month

Carry OnI have to pick Carry On by Rainbow Rowell. By all logic, I shouldn’t have finished this book as quickly as I did but it was so fun! I love Rowell’s books and I should stop hesitating from reading the copy of Landline on my shelf.

Added to my TBR

I’m down to 141 books! This is great progress for me (1 book fewer) and I’m going to bask in this accomplishment for a while. Woo! But of course, I added some things.

  • Norwegian by Night // Derek Miller (a book club selection coming up in a few months. I think in the summer)
  • The Art of Asking // Amanda Palmer (another book club selection, also for the summer)
  • The Golden Rules // Bob Bowman (Bob Bowman is a legendary swim coach best known for coaching Michael Phelps. I’m a big swimming fan and so, obviously, I want to read this book.)

I’m glad I’m finally getting better at keeping this under control! Maybe I’ll get below 100 some day. (Yes, that was a joke.)

How are your challenges going? I hope you’re doing better than me! If you love historical fiction, give some thought to my challenge, it’s fun!

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 27-January-2016

27 Jan

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at Should be Reading and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

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The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


BellwetherCurrently reading:  A lot of changes this week! I’m super close to the ending of Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson. I’m on the last disk and I’m tempted to sit in my car for a while just to finish it!
I grabbed a new audiobook this week, Bellwether by Connie Willis. I read Willis’s novel The Doomsday Book a while back and another blogger (and I, unfortunately, do not remember who) recommended this novella. It’s a short one, only five hours on audio, and I’m looking forward to it.
I’m finally picking up Harry Potter y el misterio del príncipe (Half-Blood Prince) by J.K. Rowling. This will be my Spanish language book for the year and I’ll come and go with it for a while so I’m expecting this book to be on here long-term.
I picked up a new ebook as well. I decided on Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut. It’s another classic book I’ve never read and I’m in the mood for a few more before I get over this kick.

A Darker Shade final for IreneRecently finished: Such a good week for finishing books! I finished A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab while cooking and working out early this week. I liked it a lot and I’m not on the bandwagon of those excited about the sequel. Turns out Schwab was in Michigan over the weekend for a con and my friend Rachel met her. Lucky girl.
It was a big push and I feel asleep once or twice in the process, but I finished One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez! My book club met on it on Monday so I cut it close. Phew.
I bunkered down on Sunday and finished Carry On by Rainbow Rowell. I might have avoided some blog writing and chores, but it was totally worth it! I was never a slash fangirl, but I still enjoyed the story and know it must have made a lot of other Fangirls really excited.

ShanghaiReading Next: Hm, not anything major lined up now. I’ll probably be starting Shanghai Girls by Lisa See not too long from now. My book club is reading this for March so I’ll pick it up in the middle of April. See is coming to Detroit and I’m excited to meet her!


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Book Review: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell (4/5)

26 Feb

A well written YA book is a breath of fresh air for me. I’ve read a lot of heavy adult fiction lately and having something light, conversational and a bit romantic is great to cleanse all the sadness. Eleanor & Park came at the perfect time for that and I flew through this wonderful story. Rowell is quickly becoming a favorite author.

Cover Image via Goodreads.com

Cover Image via Goodreads.com

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Summary from Goodreads:

Two misfits.
One extraordinary love.

Eleanor… Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough…Eleanor.

Park… He knows she’ll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There’s a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises…Park.

Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.

How does Rowell write characters that are so much like me and every other person who reads her books? Honestly, I see myself in Eleanor and Park and I know I’m not the only one saying that. We’re all a bit red-headed misfit and half-Korean punk. I kept reading as fast as I could to see if the characters would have the ending I thought they deserved. In some ways I was happy with it, but in other ways I was disappointed. (SPOILERS FOR THE REST OF THIS PARAGRAPH) I wanted more from the ending, but that’s not how Rowell writes. I know what I’m supposed to think the three words were, “I love you.” By I’m a cynic. What if they were “Forget about me?” Do we really know? I wanted something more conclusive.

Of her books, I think Attachments had the most conclusive ending and Fangirl had the most vague. This sat in the middle but on the Fangirl end of the spectrum.

I love Rowell’s characters. Almost as much as I love John Green’s. Well, maybe more. I think Rowell taps into that book-nerd past many readers share and makes you remember the beauty of it. I loved that they read Alan Moore comics together. I liked that they listened to U2. It was cool and nerdy all at once.

I liked Park best. Eleanor was too much like me in some ways. It’s the parts of me I didn’t like: over-analytical, concerned about appearance, quick to anger. But Park was cool, some things I wanted to be: bold, independent, strong. They were both likable but if I had to pick one, the choice is easy. Plus, who didn’t want an eyeliner-wearing comic-dork ninja for a boyfriend at 16? I know I did.

Eleanor’s social situation reminded me of grade school. Luckily, I couldn’t relate to her home life, but dreading gym class, being friends with people because they were nice to you, being shunned by the ‘cool’ kids and dressing in cheap clothes reminded me of myself. I never wanted to ‘fit in’ and do the ‘cool’ things, much like Eleanor. I had my friends and we were happy. It was cool to see a character who was the same way.

Rainbow Rowell Image via the author's website

Rainbow Rowell
Image via the author’s website

I loved the date that Eleanor and Park went on together. It was so reminiscent of dating in high school, the freedom of a drivers’ license. I liked Eleanor exploring a city she lived in for the first time and how much Park wanted to show it to her. She was finally awarded some level of freedom and the ability to enjoy the world around her. It was really beautiful.

It was hard to read about Eleanor feeling accepted by Park’s family because I’ve had similar problems. My in-laws express their affection in very different ways than my parents always have and even after five years of being around them, I still don’t think they like me and have trouble figuring out if they’re upset. It hit really close to home to see Eleanor struggle with this and I understood what she was feeling very intensely. I think going into someone else’s home for the first time is uncomfortable no matter the circumstances. We all expect the world around us to work the same way but within our personal sanctuaries, we have rules. For example, we are a lid-closed toilet household. If I go somewhere and the lid is up (we won’t even go to the seat being up), I get really uncomfortable. They’ve broken my rule but it’s their house. This is how I saw Eleanor feeling in Park’s house.

I listened to the Listening Library edition of this book narrated by Rebecca Lowman and Sunil Malhotra for Eleanor and Park respectfully. I think Lowman did an amazing job and I adored her parts of the story. She gave Eleanor a strong voice and didn’t make Park sound too feminine. Malhotra did a good job, but there were some parts of his narration I wasn’t a big fan of. His voice for Eleanor was really squeaky and annoying and I didn’t think it fit her character. His female characters in general feel a bit flat to me, except for Park’s mom. I think he did a great job of bringing her to life.

As someone who met her husband at age 14, it’s hard for me to ignore the message of this book. You can fall in love at 16. You can fall in love any time. As much as you try to run away from it, it can chase you even if you’re in Minnesota. I thought the way they talked to each other was very real and I liked the slow development of the relationship. They were scared of what they felt for each other, like Romeo and Juliet. (Yes, I caught the parallelism. It was awesome.) Society shouldn’t dismiss people who get married young or who marry their high school sweethearts as naive or stupid. We can meet people when we’re young who we want to keep with us forever and that should be embraced.

Writer’s Takeaway: I adored the narrators and their distinct ways of thinking. I also think Rowell did a great job of bouncing back and forth between the two to keep the story flowing. I liked the short little parts about what the two were thinking while they were together, that was adorable. Great way to pace the book.

Overall really enjoyable and well-developed characters. Four out of Five Stars.

This book fulfills the 1980-1999 time period of the When Are You Reading? Challenge.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Related Posts:
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Book Review: Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell |Pages and Tea
A Chat with Rainbow Rowell about Love and Censorship | The Toast

WWW Wednesday, 18-February-2015

18 Feb

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at Should be Reading, and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. So, let’s get to it!

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The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Sun Also RisesCurrently reading:  No movement on The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway. We had house guests this weekend so the hubby and I didn’t have much lone driving time. I’m antsy to finish this so I hope to soon. I think we only have one disk left!
One of my resolutions this year was to read a book in Spanish and I’ve picked La Sombra del Viento by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. I might have read five pages, so slow-going is an understatement here. It’s a good story, I just don’t have the time to really devote to the book and get through it.
I’m working on my new eBook, Left Behind by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. I’ve read four chapters so it’s slow, but the book’s keeping my interest well. I’ll be interested to see how the movie adaptation is because this one is quite religious and I’m not sure they’d keep that for a mass-release movie but I hope they kept to the book.
My book club book for March is Zeitoun by Dave Eggers. I’ve read two Eggers books before and loved both of them. I really like this one so far and I’m reading it faster than expected. I’ve heard that there’s some controversy about the main subject, but I’m avoiding it until I finish the book and can form my own opinions.
My new audiobook is The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey by Walter Mosley. The book is mostly written from the point of view of a man with dementia so it’s a bit hard to follow at times but it’s really interesting to follow his train of thought. I’ll have to see how I feel when I get farther into this one.

EleanorRecently finished:I finished Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell on audio. I LOVED IT but had a problem with the ending (typical Rowell reaction from me). I’ll go over it in my review so look forward to that one.

I’ve published two reviews, Doomsday Book by Connie Willis and The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera, which was Read Along #3. Look for Read-Along #4, probably in March or April!

Atomic CityReading Next:  On Monday I’ll get my next book club selection, The Girls of Atomic City by Denise Kiernan. We usually do one non-fiction every six months and this one looks like a great choice!

Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 11-February-2015

11 Feb

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at Should be Reading, and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. So, let’s get to it!

IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently reading:  No movement on The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway. It’s hard being so close to the end but not moving forward. I hope I can keep pushing this one soon.
One of my resolutions this year was to read a book in Spanish and I’ve picked La Sombra del Viento by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. I was able to get through a bit this week, but nothing to be proud of. This one will be here for a while.
I started a new audiobook that I’m really enjoying, Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. I read another of Rowell’s books at the end of last year and really enjoyed it. She has such a natural flow with characters and this is no exception. I’m really liking it.
I got a new eBook, Left Behind by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. This one is slow so far and that’s how I usually am with eBooks so no surprise. I saw that this was made into a Nick Cage movie recently so I’ll have to compare the two once I finish it.

Recently finished: The snowfall of finished books continues! I finished the audiobook of The Diviners by Libba Bray last Wednesday. I almost changed my post but decided to keep it for this week. Woo hoo!
Thursday night I finished The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera for Read Along #3. My post will probably go up next week to finish off the discussion. I’ll be starting up another Read Along soon so stay tuned for that! I’d love to have you all join in.
I finished Claire of the Sea Light by Edwidge Danticat early this week. It was a lot faster of a read than I thought it would be and I enjoyed it a lot.

One review finished this week as well. You can read my review of California by Eden Lepucki but I’ll warn you, I wasn’t a fan.

Reading Next:  I’ll be going to my book club tonight and our next book is Zeitoun by Dave Eggers. I’ve read two Eggers books before and really enjoyed them so I’m excited to start this one tonight!

Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Spread the word, WWW Wednesday is back!

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!