Eleanor & Park
Highly recommended by our crew here for months!! YEARS?!! Yes! And I purchased it a LONG time ago, and despite all of the HUGE love for this story… I kept it simmering on my TBR back burner. Why? WHO KNOWS?!! ‘Cause I don’t make any sense. I KNEW I’d love it. How could I knot when so many of my very own reading buds loved it like crazy (even the super-picky ones).
Was I just trying to torture myself? Deprive myself of pure reading pleasure that could last for an entire weekend (and even longer due to potential book-fogginess)? Deprive myself of future reminiscing of this book’s awesomeness?
YES! I LIKE TO BOOK-TORTURE MYSELF. Y’all know that. And apparently it extends so far as to awesome-book-deprivation. THIS book deprivation. Who in their right-reader-mind would deprive themselves of this? WHO!??? ME. That’s who.
But then I got knocked in the head by one peanut too many (or finally one peanut-enough!) by our peanut gallery right here for not reading it, and I came to my senses.
MichelleS: I MUST read Eleanor and Park. Bev hasn’t let me down yet…..
Jean: Know what bev, you are on! I know you guys wouldn’t steer me wrong and I need a definite winner! Eleanor and Park! Starting on my lunch hour!
Elizabeth: Eleanor and Park = I could read it again and again. Such a special book.
Sadie: Is E&P eleanor and park? If so, I’d like to join in. Also, I have been telling maryse to read “the kind worth killing” forever so I’ll throw some peanuts for them.
Amy: Sadie…yep, we’re talking about Eleanor and Park. Do we have a peanut vote from you as well for it?? We love book peer pressure around here!! And Maryse is usually the target of it. *giggle*
Sadie: Eleanor and Park!!!! OMG they get all the peanuts!
I made it my weekend read. See me talking about it on video, here!
You guys. It. Was. WONDERFUL!!!!! Eleanor & Park rocked my weekend!! Thanks to our “peanut gallery” for throwing all the extra peanuts at me for that one! SO GOOD!
Sadie: You can just highlight the whole book right?
Maryse: I’m on my way to it. LOL!
bev: I just fell through a rabbit hole reading E&P quotes. Makes me want to do a re read …..
Elizabeth: Eleanor and Park is a special book! One you won’t soon forget. I kicked myself for waiting to read that
Tracie: This book is so good. The audible is incredible
Maryse: Think I found myself a new fav author!!
Tracie: Oh my god!!! I am so in love with this book heart emoticon
R.C. I just finished Eleanor & Park last night (I listened to the audio book) and LOVED it! I saw it on your peanut list and could no longer resist it! As soon as I finished it, I had a couple of questions, so I went on an internet search. Did you know Rainbow Rowell is currently writing the screenplay for the movie?! It’s even listed on IMDB, although there’s not much there yet because it’s still in the preliminary stages. And she’s also mentioned the very real possibility of a sequel sometime in the future!
Claudia: Amazing..one of my favorite books, I have the eBook and the audio..lolSadie: So glad you are reading it! I want to cuddle with E&P.
Heartwarming and inspiring! And most of all? Real. In painful and humiliating ways. And in it’s ability to uplift and make whole again. Sometimes infuriating. Often, terrifying. But provocative and thrilling as two teens from completely different walks of life come together as friends. Best friends. And maybe even soulmates.
Thought provoking. Emotional. Humane. And desperately and terribly inhumane. From hiding just to not be noticed and being resigned to “wearing what little she has” forcing her TO BE noticed as the “weird girl” (in high school, no less) to eventually finding true friends… a place to feel at home… people to trust. Joy. From teenage fun and slight moments of self-centeredness to guilt over experiencing momentary joy while family members might be suffering.
So what’s it about?
Eleanor has just come “home” (<— that’s stretching it!) after a year in foster care after her step-father (Grrrrrrrr!!!! I HATE RICHIE!!) kicked her out of the house.
“What was it like?” Ben asked.
“What was what like?”
“Living with those people.”
The sun was about an inch above the horizon, and Eleanor looked hard at it. “Okay,” she said. Terrible. Lonely. Better than here.
Coming back “home” to live in poverty with an alcoholic and severely abusive (both mentally and physically) step-father, a terribly beaten mother, and 4 or 5 younger siblings that tremble each time he comes around.
…all she could think about was what they were going to do if the baby actually started to cry. Thank God he didn’t. Even he seemed to realize that trying to make this stop would only ever make it worse.
P.S. ALL of the children sleep in the same room. Food? A scarcity (except for HIS food, of course). He eats like a king. Clothing? Her mother has to hide any money she finds that he’s forgotten on his drunken nights out, so that she can buy them clothes at Goodwill. If he finds out she’s taken care of her children? HE RAGES. Oh my friends… the list goes on. He’s a piece of POO!
Maryse: Richie is the worst piece of poo. Ugh I’m shaking… Awesome book, but at times, so difficult to read.
Sadie: All the feels!
Sarah: Seriously! THOSE FEELS!!!
Tracie: I hated Richie
And he hates Eleanor most. He’s got it out for her. The eldest, and the one he centers most of his rage on… if it’s not at her mother first. And what SHE does (or doesn’t do) her mother is punished for, too. Eleanor has MUCH too much to deal with as a teenager at home, let alone the usual struggles of high-school bullies.
There are good and bad characters throughout this book, and they are at all different levels. From the usual bullies in her new high school (she dresses weird, her hair is weird, and she’s… socially awkward) that she’s an immediate outcast. They do their bully things (very bad at times),
“Tina was definitely a demon. A weird, miniature demon. Like a toy demon. Or a teacup. And she had a whole gang of lesser demons, all dressed in matching gym suits.”
but none of them compare to the terror she has to constantly face in her own “home”. She can’t even shower without racing and hiding so that he doesn’t notice her. UGH!!!! I HATE RICHIE!!!
Can you imagine?
But it’s not just that… because she DOES make friends. THE BEST of friends. From adults (like her counsellors) to teens that have true hearts and see through the “mess” that the cool kids see, Eleanor simply SHINES!! She’s poetic,
“I just want to break that song into pieces,” she said, “and love them all to death.”
uniquely beautiful, highly intelligent and apparently… her smile lights up the world.
She should smile like that all the time, Park thought; it made her face cross over from weird to beautiful. He wanted to make her smile like that constantly.
Despite her “oddball” outside appearance, her life experience, and her dreams, make her who she is. Wonderful.
And then there’s Park. Not an outcast (maybe even somewhat popular, even though he’s not a part of their “crew”). But he’s got a great home life, a solid family, with all the typical father-son issues, and brother issues but… overall? Ideal.
Diane: but Park’s family is SO great! Loved them
Amy: Eleanor and Park is such a sweet and heartfelt book! Park’s mom cracked me up and annoyed me at the same time (but mostly cracked me up), but her reaction after seeing Eleanor with her family at the grocery store endeared her to me. I just wanted to wrap Eleanor in a big squeezy hug and make it all better for her.
Maryse: YES AMY!!! It was awesome and Park’s parents are the FREAKING BEST!!!!
And for some reason… while at first he’s affronted by this new girl that is forced to sit next to him… eventually, he’s intrigued.
Park tried to remember the first time he saw her. Because he could remember, on that day, seeing what everybody else saw. He could remember thinking that she was asking for it.…
That it was bad enough to have curly red hair. That it was bad enough to have a face shaped like a box of chocolates.
No, he hadn’t thought exactly that. He’d thought …
That it was bad enough to have a million freckles and chubby baby cheeks.
God, she had adorable cheeks.
And so commences the beautiful friendship (and the safety and belonging she feels for the first time)…
That feeling she used to have when she was sitting next to Park on the bus— that feeling that she was on base, that she was safe for the moment— she could summon it now. Like a force field. Like she was the Invisible Girl.
That would make Park Mr. Fantastic.
and the delightful slow burn!!! When he discreetly held her hand? *swooooooooon!!!!* She LIT up. WE lit up!!!!
How could it be possible that there were that many nerve endings all in one place? And were they always there, or did they just flip on whenever they felt like it? Because, if they were always there, how did she manage to turn doorknobs without fainting?
It is wonderful! From start to finish, from terrifying to tremendous. You will either be furious, irritated, laughing, swooning or crying and shaking (in both good and bad ways).
“Because,” she said, “because my stepdad would kill me.”
“Why does he care?”
“He doesn’t care. He just wants to kill me.”
“Stop asking that,” she said angrily. There was no stopping the tears now. “You always ask that. Why. Like there’s an answer for everything. Not everybody has your life, you know, or your family. In your life, things happen for reasons. People make sense. But that’s not my life. Nobody in my life makes sense.…”
“Not even me?” he asked.
“Ha. Especially not you.”
My friends… don’t let the “teens from the 80′s” part scare you. Because these kids are NO different than us. Well… no different from some of you guys. I was a kid from the 80′s so I know exactly… well… everything they are talking ’bout, but believe me. Y’all from these newer generations will have NO problem connecting. The music might be “classic-coolness” and not of our generation but this book is ALL real life teenager.
Jill: Love that one. I bought some old CDs based off of this book alone.
Sharon: Loved loved loved this book. It will especially appeal to teenagers from the eighties
You knew kids like Eleanor and Park. Maybe you were them. Maybe you are them.
She never felt like she belonged anywhere, except for when she was lying on her bed, pretending to be somewhere else.
Haven’t we all felt that, at one time or another? *sigh* OMG it’s SOOOOO GOOD!!!! My heart!!!!
P.S. Check out my “reaction-video” review.
Sadie: Love it girl!! Hottest hand holding EVER!!! The last line
Maryse: RIGHT????!!! Yes. The hand holding was as great as a first kiss… *sigh*
Sadie: “Holding Eleanor’s hand was like holding a butterfly. Or a heartbeat. Like holding something complete, and completely alive.”
Maryse: And that last line… I re-read it twice, and when I clued in I was beaming! LOL!
4.5 stars!! MUST READ THIS!!!!