Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Eleanor and Park By Rainbow Rowell

The whole concept of Eleanor and Park is venturing into something totally new for young adult contemporary- and that's a good thing. It's not about one thing, and that's what sets it apart from most "issue novels". And these issues aren't the central point of this book either. It's a love story. In a lot of contemporary, the central plot is regarding the issue- the abuse, the drugs, the bullying, etc, and getting past that is what the book is about. But in Eleanor and Park, everyone knows that they will have to deal with certain things, and they'res no way to change that. What I mean, is Eleanor isn't exactly a barbie doll- and I don't mean she's skinny and she think's she's fat; I don't mean she has an eating disorder, I mean she's tall and broad, and not skinny. Can Park (her love interest) see beauty in her? Yes. Is she as repulsive as she sees herself? Probably not. A while ago, I was on the author's website, and she wrote something about how she got asked the question "Eleanor isn't really fat, is she?", and that's because YA contemporary is trashed with the-excuse my choice of words if they offend you- skinny 5 10" size 00 white girl who for some odd reason, thinks she's fat, and starves herself, or binges and purges. Eleanor does neither of those-nor is she a binge eater or a closet eater, because she has this asshole of a stepdad who drinks too much, and there isn't enough food on the table to eat anyway. It's just the way she is, and she just can't change it. And she knows that, and she's already gotten past that. Park, is biracial- he's half Korean and half white- and he understands that some people aren't okay with that- after all, this book takes place in 1986, so there are actually a lot of people who aren't okay with this. And that is also what sets this book apart from others. It's not two perfect people. It's not a good girl and a bad boy. It's not a druggie and a valedictorian. It's two teenagers who don't exactly fit in, but see the beauty in each other.
That said, this book is amazing- I read it a long time ago actually- Last September, and it was a school night, I started it at around 10:00 pm and I was awake until 4:15 am reading it until I finished. It nearly brought tears to my eyes. Now, I'm going to delve into some spoilers, so if you haven't read it, I recommend you read it, and then come back.
SPOILERS BEGIN HERE
Do you agree that it was so cute when they would read the comics together on the bus? I just thought that was so adorable. I appreciated how Park's mom came to like Eleanor after seeing how large her family was, and how she was able to relate to her. Richie is such a b*stard, I mean, those things he wrote on her book covers. And he freaking wants to rape her! He's disgusting, and I hope he rots in hell. Eleanor's siblings just pissed me off. I mean, shouldn't they have each other's back? Well, to her siblings, Richie's become "Dad" because he didn't kick them out of the house for a year, like he did to Eleanor. At the end, when she finally realized that Richie was writing on her books, and what he was going to do, and Tina could actually sympathize for her, I loved that. I loved it because even though they don't like each other, and Tina isn't very nice to Eleanor, she still feels bad for her, because she can relate. She isn't happy that Eleanor is in the situation that she is in, because Tina is also in a similar situation. My heart broke for Eleanor and Park when Eleanor had to escape and go to her uncle's house. And they didn't talk to each other & tried to move on with their lives. And Eleanor sends him the post card saying she loves him.
I perceived this as kind of like a cliffhanger. Because you start to think: "Do they meet each other, because she told him she loves him, and he obviously feels similarly?" or "Do they just move on with their life, and it fades away- they were just teens, so they might find love again-right?" So, that's why I felt like that.
Over all, I rate this book a 5/5 stars. It's a different direction for the YA contemporary genre, and I really enjoyed it. It wasn't cheesy, and that's kind of rare for the YA genre in general, but that's part of why I love the genre. So, I'm not judging books with cheese, because I love them to death too. But sometimes, you need to get away from the cheese, or you'll get a stomach ache- you feel me? LOL, but really, read this book if you haven't, and I'll talk to you in the next post, I hope you enjoyed this. Please comment, tell me if you liked the book, or your favorite parts, and I guess that's all for now.
- Swathi

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