2017 Jul 30
Eleanor is the new girl in town, and with her chaotic family life, her mismatched clothes and unruly red hair, she couldn’t stick out more if she tried.
Park is the boy at the back of the bus. Black t-shirts, headphones, head in a book – he thinks he’s made himself invisible. But not to Eleanor… never to Eleanor.
Slowly, steadily, through late-night conversations and an ever-growing stack of mix tapes, Eleanor and Park fall for each other. They fall in love the way you do the first time, when you’re young, and you feel as if have nothing and everything to lose.
This book was an unquestionable winner. Just a skim through it, reveals a story between Eleanor and Park – both young, bright misfits of sorts – and their relationship. A deeper look, however, reveals a play on a number of contemporary issues; child abuse, domestic abuse, body image and even bullying. There is also a subtle hint at issues of race and privilege.
Rowell has done a wonderful job with characterization. The hero and heroine are not of stereotypical making. Eleanor is brought forward as neither conventionally beautiful, nor conventionally dressed. Likewise, Park’s personality sheds light on the questionable attractiveness of stereotypical masculinity.
Further, this the novel is jam packed with pop culture references that adds an obvious young vibe to the book. The focal point of the novel – and their relationship – appears to be an escape found in love. One is bound to find this sentiment relatable, regardless of age.
A definite recommendation for a romantic at heart.