July 8, 2013

Book Review: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

At First Sight: The year is 1986 and Park Sheridan was riding the bus to school when a new girl came on. She's big, redheaded and awkward... and no one wants to let her sit; so Park does.

He isn't happy about it, and he isn't gracious - he was quite happy flying under the bullies radar, somewhat protected by the fact he has been next-door-neighbor to Chief Bully since they were kids and that they are sort of friends but not really - but he does what's right.

Eleanor doesn't know what to think, and she isn't exactly gracious about Park's offer. But from then on they share their bus rides, mostly in awkward silence, until Park realizes that Eleanor is reading his comics over his shoulder, and that they both love music.

And they start to fall in love, regardless of how much as their Real Lives try to make it stop. 

Second Glance: I loved Rainbow Rowell's previous offering; Attachements, and Eleanor and Park just blew me out of the park. From the moment I started there was no stoping for me. Both of them felt so young and so alive and I loved the 80's references - and props to Ms. Rowell for making the book full of 86' references without making it dated.

Anyway, Eleanor and Park are really the stars of the book in equal measures. Both of them have family issues though in very different ways: Eleanor has trouble with her mom's new husband who's crazy and sometimes violent; Park is the product of a Great Love Affair between his parents (his dad is a war vet, his mom from South Korea) and often feels like he doesn't measure up to the ideas his father has of manhood.

It was awesome to see the contrast between both their families, Eleanor's is harsh and everyone is kind of out to get their own. Park's, whoever imperfect, was full of love. Even his parents were still totally in love and it was sweet to read about it. I loved Park's parents. They were decent people and they wanted their kids to be happy.

Also, the author totally played with my emotions near the end, I was all "what? this is how its it going to end? there aren't that many pages left" but she totes managed to turn it around and I was like "OMG!! I'm so happy!!! SQUEEEEEE!!!"* 

Bottom Line: Other than I loved Eleanor and Park, go read it, the hype is totally granted and everyone should read Rainbow Rowell's books? I got nothing. Totally recommend. 

Favorite Quote: There are so many!
"Lame and fantastic?"
"Those are your middle names."

"Eleanor wouldn't try to stop her, no matter what; she was a guest in this garage. She'd eaten this woman's food and manhandled her son - she was in no position to argue."

"I want to break that song into pieces, and love them all to death."
starstarstarstarstarPersonal Favorite
*Actual reaction.

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