Eleanor and Park Came to Our Wedding by Ann King DiBella

front cover eleanor and parkWhen I started dating Tom, I made it clear from the start that I was a huge nerd.  Not nerd as in, “I like to read.”  But nerd as in, “I live and breathe books and authors and often connect every life event to a character or title ad nauseum.”  Tom embraced my nerdiness, which wasn’t difficult for him since he is also a gigantic book-nerd-Star-Wars-fan.  Luckily for me.


As we learned to know each other, Tom suggested that we each recommend one book to each other.  However, the stipulation was that the book we recommended had to be in a voice similar to our own.  The book didn’t need to mirror our life experiences, but it needed to “sound” like me and “sound” like him.


I was geeking out.  Nobody had ever asked me to do this before.


After much obsessive perseveration, I chose Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell.  Not because I was a high school kid in the 80s, and not because I had a life like Eleanor.  Rowell’s voice in this book is so much like my own.  I felt like I could’ve written it.


Tom suggested a book, too.  We had long conversations about both texts, about the plots, and about the voices.  Tom appreciated the Star Wars references in Eleanor & Park, especially the classic Han Solo and Princess Leia lines,

“I love you.”

“I know.”

He also had many words to say about the ending to E&P.  (I remember the day Tom finished the book, and the text he sent me.  I cannot retype what the text said, due to the expletives.)


Later in the fall, Rainbow Rowell came to town and I dragged Tom along.  After waiting in a line that stretched around the building, we were privileged with an hour in an auditorium, listening to Rowell speak.  She was funny and sad and brilliant.  I knew, then, that I had Tom hooked on Young Adult novels and author talks.


As time went by, we continued to read and talk about books (and grammar) and we wondered, “Are there actually other people in the world sitting in the dark talking for hours about Stephen King’s 11/22/63 like we are?”  We came to love each other during these book talks and Oxford Comma discussions.


When we decided to get married, it was small and intimate. Could there be a better place to get married than in my favorite book store?  I think not.


This past fall, we tied the knot in a quaint, sweet, independent bookstore in town. The store owner and her employees graciously gathered up as many wedding books as they could, placing them around the small area where we would be married.


signed eleanor and parkAlso in the background, were multiple copies of Eleanor & Park.


I wonder what Eleanor would have said if she could’ve talked to Park at our wedding?  I bet the conversation would’ve gone something like this:


“Hey, Park,” Eleanor would say. “Do you think Ann has paralyzed him with her ninja magic and her Vulcan handhold?”

“Yeah,” Park would reply. “Just look at them.  They’re such nerds.”

Ann King DiBella is a third grade teacher in Indiana.  You can find her on Twitter @kingandkids.