Eleanor and Park

Eleanor and Park - Rainbow Rowell Eleanor is the new kid at school. Not quite conventional in appearance or life experience, she steps on to the school bus that first day fully expecting the usual jeers and jabs. Despite this she holds her head high and looks for a place to sit. Every time she spots an empty seat the person sitting there manages a maneuver to make it unavailable. Finally, Park has had enough and moves over to make room beside him, and so starts the day-to-day telling of their lives.

This is probably not a book I would normally choose but my daughter attended an author event featuring Ms. Rowell, picked it up and passed it along because she thought I would enjoy it. I did! I adored Park’s family; especially his over the top mother and my heart ached at Eleanor’s home life. Ms. Rowell’s depiction of the contrast between the two homes was astonishing. Well done!

Although this is definitely the story of Eleanor and Park Ms. Rowell also tackles some pretty serious issues (poverty, abuse and bullying among them) and does so with such a straightforward manner that you feel the unfairness of it all right along with Eleanor and Park. I was always expecting them to finally buckle under all the peer scrutiny and taunts. Yet Ms. Rowell gave them backbone and allowed them to be each other’s support. She created two teens that could not have been more opposite, probably should never have even been friends but page-by-page were brought together first as best friends and then as more.

I do agree with some fellow reviewers who felt the book came to a rather abrupt end. As always happens when someone loans me a book, when I return it we end up discussing our likes and/or dislikes and the story in general. I mentioned the ending and my daughter had a little bit of an inside scoop from the author event. Ms. Rowell had mentioned that she would like to write another book featuring Eleanor and Park – a book that has a story line beginning some years after this one ends. We’ll see? Technically a YA title I think this book can be enjoyed by readers of all ages.