Eleanor and Park
So it seems fair that the first contemporary review/rant I go on has to involve the acclaimed writer and queen herself: Rainbow Rowell.
If you’ve never heard of this book or have never heard of Rainbow Rowell stop what you’re doing right now and READ THIS BOOK!
The Goodreads summary of Eleanor and Park depicts the novel to be a yet another cliché “boy meets girl story,” where 2 misfit high schoolers meet and slowly develop a budding friendship that gradually grows to something that neither of the two “misfits” ever imagined.
Something that I really love about this book is that it isn’t like any other YA book that I’ve ever read. The book deals with themes that aren’t usually mixed together. Often times it’s because a mixture such as this could appear overdone and maybe even a little taboo- but not this book.
Rowell does a beautiful job of weaving themes of relationships, domestic and verbal abuse, self-image, 1980’s pop culture, race, and the status quo all into one magnificent novel.
Some people may be weary to read this book because of controversial themes and use of racial slurs. In fact, the books’ controversial themes is one reason why it has been challenged to be taken down from shelves of public school libraries.
The way I choose to see it, with all the darkness that settles around “the two misfits,” both Eleanor and Park were able to find refuge within one another while the world continued to spin around them.
As a reader, I found myself wanting to jump into the story and stop anyone who stood in the way of Eleanor’s happiness! With all that she and her family have endured over the years, she DESERVES to be happy.
And Park! Just like every other teenager at the time, he is just looking to find his place in the world. The very racist and close-minded world at that.
However, if it wasn’t for the world pushing their uniqueness away, Eleanor and Park wouldn’t have found each other.
Although race is a prominent theme in this novel, Rowell does discuss every teenagers’ inner demon of being comfortable in their own skin. Being a teenager is hard! Their are teachers telling you what to do, parents dictating how you should act, and society telling you what to think. With all this going on, we sometimes forget how our opinions fit into all of this.
Eleanor and Park absolutely deserves the praise that not only I give it, but what the entire contemporary community gives it. It’s a fantastic story that is hard to explain without giving away too much.
And if the Power of Love isn’t a good enough reason to read this book, it is filled with an abundance 80’s pop culture references. The Smiths, The Cure, Star Wars, grunge attitudes and SO MUCH MORE.
If you only take away one thing from this review just know that it’s Worth. The. Read. So get off the internet and read this book!
Here’s a link to it’s Goodreads Page