Thursday, November 7, 2013

Book Review: Eleanor & Park

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

I decided to read this book around the time it started showing up on banned book lists.  All I can really say about it is it is phenomenal.  This is the sort of book that can really have a positive impact on kids lives, particularly if they're the sort who don't really fit in or have had difficult lives.  It's also a really good love story that has cross generational appeal.

Rowell does an excellent job of capturing the spirit of young, awkward love, and the book would still be amazing if that was all it had to say.  However it is more complicated than that, as the female lead Eleanor and her family are the victims of abuse at the hands of her drunken step-father.  It also shows the ways her family deals with being poor, which can be quite enlightening for kids who are more well off.

I endorse this book for both teenagers and adults.  There are some PG rated teenage love scenes and some language and abuse themes, but overall it's a fantastic book that most teens should be able to handle.  It also has appeal for adults, particularly those that enjoy the culture and music of the 80's as that is the time period in which the book is set.  It also takes perspective turns between Eleanor and Park so you can see the story from both perspectives, for example when she sees herself as looking fat and unattractive in her gym clothes, and he sees her as beautiful.

Eleanor & Park is a sweet love story between two teenage misfits.  It teaches a lesson of acceptance and hope and was one of the better books I have read this year.  I wholeheartedly endorse it, and can put a copy on hold for you right now if you give me a call, shoot me an email or write me a Facebook message.

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