I have a working theory that every book can be captured with one perfect word. It's not going to be a perfect fit. Some favorite parts will be left ouI have a working theory that every book can be captured with one perfect word. It's not going to be a perfect fit. Some favorite parts will be left out. There's a high level of variation, because words are different for every book, every person, every reread.But they're there. Harry Potter is magic. Sherlock Holmes is mystery. And there has to be one for Eleanor & Park.
I'm no expert on real life love, so if I'm wrong, forgive me. But how can one word capture the cute, warm, and fuzzy feeling?
The frantic, fast version of first love, and the need to slowly, carefully, meticulously examine it.
The awkwardness of needing to learn how to kiss and sometimes tripping over coffee tables and falling on the couch.
The unforgiving arguments that end in silence. The non-arguments that end in silence anyway. The problems with the outside world and with the world between two people. Picking fights without knowing why.
And more mundane things. The aversion to meeting the parents. The first date. The first kiss. The first shared mixtapes and comics. Holding hands. Driving around. Sneaking around.
The tenuous, fragile, "It's because I have to" family love.
Even the weird, arbitrary things matter.
Makeovers, eyeliner, satin pillowcases.
The weird loveliness of having a punk rock Asian kid date a tomboy redhead. Because, yeah, looks can matter in a lovely way.
Reading a book written by someone with a cool name like Rainbow Rowell.
The best way I can describe this book at this time in the evening is like watching one of those movies that restore your faith in humanity even thoughThe best way I can describe this book at this time in the evening is like watching one of those movies that restore your faith in humanity even though the film didn't align with reality by a long stretch.
The angst levels in this book are record-breaking. But it's bearable, because if it's a steady leak of angst, and not a hurricane, I think I can handle it. And besides, this whole book is made of leaks of brute force feelings from people trying desperately to hold them back.
Did that make sense? Of course it didn't. It didn't even make sense to me.
The lowdown is that this book is two very messed up people who fall in love. Mm, tastes of bran and unoriginality. Boring.
Except the side characters are awesome. And even though the writer loads up on way too much angst, the sweet side characters and their messed up stories to follow and way less macking out and way more actual dealing with relationship stuff without getting stupidly cliché, which is kind of a plus.
I don't know. The book's good, not great, and still worth reading. It's an unsolvable paradox, but one that's fun to mess with, just because you can.
I have no idea what I'm even trying to say anymore.
The title's pretty cool, though. The Sea of Tranquility. They talk about it in the book -- they thought it was a lake on the moon but really it was a shadow and it really goes to show how much of everything is just what we want to see and not what it actually is.
So I'm looking at what I've got so far, and all I can see is that I'm implying that this book is a Sea of Angst and the whole point of this book book is to transform it into a Sea of Tranquility, just by looking at it from a different angle.
This book made me feel so alive. I've never really seen this sort of writing before, not even in Melina Marchetta's other book (Saving Francesca). ThiThis book made me feel so alive. I've never really seen this sort of writing before, not even in Melina Marchetta's other book (Saving Francesca). This writing is the seriousness of the past and the excitement of the young and the optimism and the pessimism in all our lives are all smushed together in a truly disorienting way.
From this distance everything is so bloody perfect.
That plot. You have no idea how much I am in love with this plot right now. It's so many drastically different things that all smooth together in writing so beautiful that it seems like something more than just prose. It's got everything, from a slightly insane female protagonist to a boarding school to a territory war (that reminds me of Camp-Half Blood's capture the flag, for all you Rick Riordan fans). I don't think I'll ever get over the amazingness that is this plot.
Oh, and heads up: when you read this book, expect flashbacks that will throw you off from the main storyline. It's kind of disorienting, but it really is relevant to the rest of the story. Oh, and the flashbacks are always italicized. Just so you know.
Hold my hand, because I might disappear.
Jellicoe Road is a shared experience. What I mean by that you can't read this book sitting alone in a corner, isolated from the rest of the world. This is the kind of book that you have to give to every single literate being on this planet, hands-down, no questions asked. I think that this is the kind of book that can only be truly understood when discussed with other people. It's the kind of book that sparks those amazing one-hour classroom discussions where everyone and talk about life-love-death-everything in a way that gives things so much more meaning than they had before. This book brings people together. This book tears down walls.
And everything I ever say here or anywhere will never even come close to properly describing the book in it's purest form. Be disoriented. Love the plot. Bring people together. Tear down walls. Read Jellicoe Road....more
I read those first words on the first page, and I thought for sure I was going to love this book. It had evYou either have the feeling or you don't.
I read those first words on the first page, and I thought for sure I was going to love this book. It had everything I love: contemp writer, The Great Love, wit, creative stuff, and, best of all, pictures. IN FULL COLOR.
And I cannot deny that this book is has some serious pretty going on. Really. I would rip out the pages and tack them to my wall. Maira Kalman is illustrator extraordinaire. It makes me want to ignore all the other not-so-pretty things going on in this book. Almost.
Because there are some things in this book that I still can't get over. Like writing in second person. Some people can pull it off really well, you know? But Daniel Handler's version left me all confused and wait-who-said-that-crap-now-i-have-to-read-all-this-dialogue-again frustrated. It wasn't working out for me.
Ah, The Great Love. I really did like most of the couple-y parts. It was very honest and frank and stark. And it's really hard to write from that hazy point-of-view of "in love." But David Handler writes from that perspective beautifully. I understood a lot more about that stuff about love after sifting through what he had to say.
Why We Broke Up, sadly, is not-quite. Not quite what I was hoping for. Not quite what I would like. But I fell in love with the idea of it. And I don't regret reading it. So this book isn't just not-quite. I guess also a maybe-next-time. It has potential. So, David Handler, maybe next time.
(side note: Apparently David Handler also wrote under the name Lemony Snicket. Sadly, I still have not read the The Bad Beginning or any of the other Unfortunate Events. Are they good? *leans forward* I might read them, if they're good.)...more