Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Publication Date: 2013
The Short Version:
In 1986 Omaha, a couple of high school misfits experience both first love and troublesome times.
Why I Read It:
Pretty much everyone I know who has read this book had good things to say so I requested if from the Library.
Park is just trying to stay under the radar and not get involved in the drama of the ‘cool kids’ in school. When a new girl gets on the school bus Park knows she’s destined to be never fit in. When she sits next to him on the bus it begins a daily ritual that starts with them ignoring each other but soon they’re becoming friends and more.
Not only are they different from each other they’re both different from their classmates. Park is a Korean Ameircan kid who likes punk rock music. Eleanor is big and awkward with a mass of red curly hair and weird clothes. Park’s parents met in Korea and are still in love. Eleanor’s home life is a mess.
The rest of the details of Eleanor and Park’s story are best left for the reader to learn.
This book was charming, funny, sad, heartbreaking and I loved it. I could empathize with both Eleanor and Park for many of the reasons each of them felt like an outcast at school.
Park is not subject to derision the way Eleanor is but he’s still a bit of an outsider. As the story continues the details of Eleanor’s troubled home life come out. Park feels like a disappointment to his father but his family feels like the Cleavers to Eleanor. They each have issues of their own and their relationship opens them up for even more.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Both main characters were well written and their relationship is believable. It brought to mind both the good parts and the horrible parts of my own high school experience. It’s both wonderful and terribly sad and a book I highly recommend.