Check out previous interviews in the One Thing Leads to Another series here.
I don’t mind telling you that I was sophomore in high school in 1986. I was (as so many of us were) 15 going on confused, and everything was new and weird and cool and hard and sometimes both better and worse than I’d ever imagined. 1986 was not a great year for me (understatement!) and 1987-1989 were only marginally better. I spent a lot of time working on the school newspaper, almost as much time playing D&D with the Science Fiction and Fantasy club, and I got grounded for going to a Thompson Twins concert on a Sunday night. I spent what little money I had on books and record albums (yes, I was a snob and only used cassette tapes for making mixes) and I shaved the sides of my head and wore a lot of black. It was a thing.
I’m sure you can see where I’m going with this. When I first started to hear the buzz about Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park I was torn. I’m a genre reader through and through, I won’t lie, and even though I love so many works of realistic fiction, it’s not always easy for me to willingly pull them out of the pile and crack the cover.
So I did, and as soon as Park sat down next to Eleanor it was all over. I won’t even start on Fangirl, except to point you back to exhibit B (D&D) above and then raise that a couple of Buffy Posting Board parties and more conventions than I can count.
Thank you so, so much Rainbow, for working with me on these questions, for your thoughtful answers, and your books. I hope you know what I mean when I say you make it better down here.
Always Something There to Remind Me
Please describe your teenage self.
Agh. This is so difficult to think about in an honest way.
I had a really painful, chaotic life as a teenager. I don’t think I had much hope for myself or for the future. So, looking back, I’m amazed that I wasn’t more self-destructive.
I was very focused on school, because school was an oasis for me. But I wasn’t every focused on grades. The high school newspaper was my life; I was editor, and I wrote a column â€“ called Of Cabbages and Kings â€“ and I took it all very seriously.
I took everything very seriously. I’ve never been someone with moderate emotions. If I like something, I love it. And if I’m angry, I’m outraged. That was even more true of me as a teenager.
I think I felt like a misfit, but when I look back at those years, my memories are full of friends.
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