Eleanor & Park was published back in 2012, and it’s been on my TBR for ages. But as so often happens, even great books slip and slide down that TBR. Here we are now in 2020, and I’ve finally read Eleanor & Park.
Rainbow Rowell’s book made me feel ALL the feels. If I’m being honest, it triggered me, which was unexpected. I don’t resent it, though. I’m grateful when books make me feel deeply, even if those feelings aren’t always positive ones. This book let me hold deep emotions in my hand and inspect them, which ultimately leads to healing.
Here’s what triggered me. The way Eleanor learns to exist in the world reminds me so much of my own experiences. Eleanor’s stepfather Richie is a destroyer who crushes everything Eleanor holds dear. I grew up with a destroyer too. I understand how Eleanor feels in her crazy home life, and I understand how, even at school where Eleanor might have found sanctuary, she only experiences more torment from peers who see her as unusual, the irony, of course, being that Eleanor comes across as unusual because her home life is so bizarrely awful.
But Eleanor also has strength. In being strong and not letting the destroyer kill her spirit, Eleanor allows her true nature to shine. For this, she is rewarded with beautiful Park.
There’s so much more to love about this book. I HIGHLY recommend the audiobook, by the way. Rainbow Rowell’s writing is so, so good, especially her humor and the way she describes people. (I enjoyed Eleanor & Park much more than Fangirl.) I also adore everything about Park’s mother Min-Dae, especially [SLIGHT SPOILER ALERT HERE] when Min-Dae realizes she too has judged Eleanor–even though her own upbringing in a large, poor family was not that different from Eleanor’s.
I love Eleanor’s strength and Park’s goodness.
I love that I finally read this book.
P.S. Just one question: Why is Eleanor depicted as so skinny on the book cover?!