This interview is a complete fantasy. Please make no assumptions about the charming, real Rainbow Rowell based on my fictional conversation with her. Kthx.
Me: Hiya, Rainbow!!!!
Me: So, a few weeks ago, I got an email from my favorite bookseller telling me I simply HAD to pick up your new book, Eleanor & Park.
NR: I’m flattered.
Me: I was excited to read it too because the blurb on the front was by my other fake interviewee, Gayle Forman. And she’s awesome, so I figured you must be as well.
NR: So you read it right away then?
Me: Well, no, I waited a little while to buy because I had stuff going on.
NR: I’m all ears.
Me: Seriously. Eleanor & Park has immediately become one of my favorite books. It’s such a complicated story told in such a simple way.
NR: Well, thanks.
Me: No, maybe you don’t understand. It’s a simple love story in a complicated set of circumstances AND I TOTALLY WANT TO MARRY IT.
NR: I think I might need to politely find a way out of this conversation.
Me: There was this moment, this INCOMPARABLE moment, when I knew it was going to be one of my favorite books.
Me: The hand-holding. I mean how in the world do you write a scene of simple hand holding that goes on for pages and pages and makes me grin for a million years? Explain.
NR: Um, well.
Me: Seriously. Pages.Of.Hand.Holding.Reaction.Love. And I want more. More of this: “And Eleanor disintegrated.” SO DID I. The butterfly and heartbeat in his hand? The Vulcan handhold? “Is it possible to rape someone’s hand?” I want to eat these words. I want to consume that moment.
NR: Err … good?
Me: Then there are all these wonderful, small observations that show Eleanor and Park falling in love. SUCH AS: “That morning, in English, Park noticed that Eleanor’s hair came to a soft red point on the back of her neck….”
NR: Well, I wrote it. So yeah.
Me: And maybe you didn’t know this about me, but …
NR: I don’t know you at all.
Me: Ok, true, but all the music in this book? The Smiths? Joy Division? Dead Kennedys? The Cure? It’s like you took a look at my mix-tape collection from the 8th grade and wrote a book about it and the Asian guy I used to be in a band with. Honestly.
NR: I didn’t.
Me: Just pretend for a moment for me, ok? And the comics and Han Solo and Boba Fett? You realize you wrote a geek kid’s book fantasy right?
NR: I did?
Me: Park is such a great character. He becomes this champion for Eleanor when she has no one. But we watch him move from someone who seems self-assured and together to a guy who’s broken up just by trying to be everything for her. Almost knowing it’s going to blow up in his face made me scared to keep reading. But still, Park …
Me: And ELEANOR!!!! Dear Lord, Rainbow. Was there ever a more wonderfully snarky, heart-breakingly honest, REAL LIVE GIRL that I loved to love? (The answer is no, Rainbow, in case you were wondering.)
NR: Well, I love her too. Glad to hear it.
Me: She’s completely herself, and knows she deserves more than what the world and her life has given her, but she doesn’t take what she doesn’t need. She’s gorgeous and vulnerable and she wears VANS.
Me: Normally, I could go on and on and on about the boy in a YA novel (and I could write pages about Park), but I just want to sit and stew in some Eleanor for a bit.
NR: That sounds disgusting.
Me: Like this: “There’s a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes me want to let him open doors for me…” I realize that this line is about Park, but it says SO MUCH about Eleanor.
NR: That it does.
Me: But I have a complaint.
NR: Lay it on me.
Me: The ending, Rainbow. Just. Just. I don’t want to ruin it for anyone (because everyone reading this is most definitely picking up this book) but really? REALLY, Ms. Rowell?
Me: You’re right. Makes me hope that there’s a sequel.
Me: I know. I know. It’s actually pretty perfect.
NR: Thank you.
Me: So, essentially, I want you to know that your book gave me a million feelings about books and love and music and scarves and youth and Impalas and the 80s.
NR: You’re welcome.
So, have you picked up Eleanor & Park yet? If you love the 80’s, young love, music, and beautifully written books, you must. But be forewarned: This book isn’t all fluff. There’s reality here, guys, and sometimes that’s ugly.
Yes, it does, Johnny Depp. But hope is always beautiful. READ IT, Y’ALL. And follow the beguiling, real Rainbow Rowell on twitter.
Pick up Eleanor & Park on Amazon