Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Totally Read Tuesday-Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

What I read can vary greatly content and I typically have multiple books going at once, mixed between audiobook, e-book, and physical book. I had Eleanor and Park recommended to me by a fellow librarian and I had heard a few students talking about how much they liked it, so I moved it to my To Read list. A few days later I saw that it was available in audio book through my public libraries Overdrive account. I tend to shy away from fiction books on audio because the narrator can sometimes ruin a story for me (A Wrinkle in Time, I'm looking at you) but I decided to try it anyway. I figured if I didn't like the narrator, I would just get on the hold list for the book copy at my library. I enjoyed the narrators and was glad they had a male and a female read the book instead of using one reader for all of the parts. This is one of my favorite fiction audio books so if you are an audio book fan I would recommend the format.

This book is set in the 1986 in Omaha, Nebraska (Rowell's hometown). The story is told in dual perspective going between Park, a half Vietnamese half Caucasian boy who has lived in the neighborhood all his life, Eleanor is a quite red head who shows up on Park's bus one morning, out of place from the moment her foot hit the bus step. Park reluctantly allows her to sit with him on the bus and that decision sets the rest of the story in motion. Eleanor is transitioning to living with her mother and stepfather again after being kick out of the house for over a year due to an incident with her stepfather. Eleanor's family life is terrible and school isn't much better but slowly she begins to form a relationship with Park as they bond over comic books and mixed tapes. Eleanor has major issues with her stepfather, mother, school bullies, and even her siblings but Park seems to be the one thing holding her together.

This book is for the 14+ crowd, it has cursing, sexual references, and incidents of child and domestic abuse. This book can be raw and gritty but it is an amazingly wonderful portrayal of a character stuck in her circumstances without a whole lot of hope. You feel for Eleanor, you want to save her, you want to have her come live with you, you want to punch her stepfather in the face. I haven't felt this emotionally attached to a book character in a long time. Rowell is a wordsmith, her writing seems simple but it holds so much weight, it moves you in unexpected ways and makes you want more. She also wrote another YA book called Fangirl and adult fiction books Landline and Attachments, I loved Fangirl and Landline and am on a waitlist for Attachments from the library. I would recommend this book to adults and teens alike without hesitation, as long as they understood that there would be the aforementioned cursing, sexual reference, and uncomfortable topics discussed. It's realistic and sometime reality, even reality set in the 1980's, isn't always pretty.

Because I love this book so much I am having a contest to give away a paperback copy of Eleanor and Park from Amazon.com. Use the Rafflecopter app below and enter to win a free copy, which I will have shipped directly to you when the contest is over.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. My fave band of the 80s was The Police. They were rock, and pinkish, and new wavish, and sounded like no one else.

    Also - this book is not only greatness, it's moving. Read it (listen to it!!!) if you haven't.