Sunday, December 15, 2013

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell, 328 pages

It's the 80s (my favorite decade) and high schooler Eleanor has just returned to her very abusive home. Overweight with frizzy hair, poorly dressed Eleanor tries to keep a low profile and ends up facing the horrors of bullying ... at home and at school. She keeps it together by forming an unusual friendship with Park. Park is oriental boy who is very small in stature. He has his own demons to fight but for some reason comes to Eleanor's defense (passively) by offering her the seat next to him on the bus. Every day they ride together to school without a word to each other. Every day Park notices Eleanor watching him read his comics. He starts to share them with her and slowly music is added to the mix and they become friends. Their friendship is a life line for both. As Eleanor opens her world to Park they realize they are much the same in likes as much as their worlds are very different. Park does what he can to save Eleanor from the horrors of home and school. It's such a beautifully written book alternating from both viewpoints that I found often found myself with tears streaming down my face. This is a book every child (and parent) should read and understand what bullying does to a person. Sometimes all we see in kids is the shell... and not what is inside. Such bittersweetness ends this story and I think that it ended exactly as it should have.

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