Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Eleanor & Park

When I was selecting the books I would read this week, I was having trouble deciding which ones I wanted to read from the list. A good friend, however, made my decision a little bit easier after she highly recommended the book Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. Set in the late 1980's, this book follows two sixteen year old misfits and captures the highs and lows of first love. As my friend explained to me, this book is not your typical love story. But this honest and relatable story of high school love is exactly what drew me to this book. Unlike most teen love stories, Eleanor and Park are not perfect. They are not the most attractive, smart, or popular people in school (according to today's societal standards) but they are all of those things in their own way. This book shows that their perceived flaws are what make them beautiful and unique. I think that is an important and strong message for anyone.

From the book cover and what I have read so far, music is extremely important to Eleanor and Park. I can totally relate to that because I always have some sort of music on in the background no matter what I am doing. Rainbow Rowell also likes music and, fortunately for us, she created playlists based on her characters Eleanor and Park. I love how she created the playlists to be similar to the cassettes that were played in Eleanor and Park's walkmans! It's so creative! On her blog, she includes a very long post with music videos and her thoughts for all four playlists. But if you would rather just listen to the playlists, click on the links below...

"I just want to break that song into pieces and love them all to death.” - Eleanor (p.54)


  1. Christina,
    From reading your post, Eleanor and Park sounds like an interesting book that I will definitely be adding to my list! I like how you pointed out that this is not your "typical" love story; both rather Eleanor and Park have their flaws.I think this is a quality that makes the book so relatable and appealing to young adult readers. Not every romance consists of the perfect couple (in terms of physical appearance, personality, etc.).
    After looking into the book online, I stumbled across a page that mentioned a dispute that Anoka High School in Minnesota had in regards to whether or not this particular novel should be banned in the classroom. Many community members stated that Eleanor and Park consisted of "vile profanity" (Star Tribune, 2014). This might be something you would be interested in looking at; especially since you have read the book and have formed your own opinions.
    Including the playlists in your post was a great idea! I think this truly brings the novel to life. I look forward to reading this book in the future and listening to the songs. Having read the book, do you think these songs captivate the mood/tone? It will be interested to make a connection between the book and the songs which the author has picked to represent her work of literature.

  2. Oh! I just read through Keara's questions and she asked you some great ones! I do hope you take the time to come back and answer some of them .. especially the one regarding whether or not you think the use of "vile profanity." Just Like Keara, I'm wondering...do you think it was "vile?" Also, do you think the use of this profanity was *gratuitous*? OR.... was this language critical to the development of the plot?

  3. Oh wait! I had one other question. You included a great quote from Eleanor at the end of your entry. Could you include what page this quote came from? I'd love to be able to star it in my book.

  4. Dr. Jones,

    In my response back to Keara, I talk about how I did not find the language to be "vile" or "gratuitous." Instead, I felt that it was necessary for the plot because it really made the story feel as though it was being told by two teenagers. It is what made it relatable and authentic which I think is critical for any young adult book.

    I edited this post to include the page number!