Editor's Lit: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Time Out says
So, let’s dial back the drama a notch with ‘Eleanor & Park’ by Rainbow Rowell. It’s a book about flawed young adults but adults who are young at heart will definitely enjoy this one. Rowell’s raw, honest style and her quirky characters will transport you back to the days of first love, awkward but lovely moments and the kiss that future kisses after that will have to rival.
She’s the odd new girl in town with whom he shares his bus seat with. It was dislike at first sight. At the start, she deems him as the ‘stupid Asian kid’ in her mind while he, as days bleed into weeks, shares his comic books with her. It doesn’t stop there, he starts making her mix tapes for her to listen to and collects AA batteries for her Walkman because she can't afford them.
As this odd but no less sweet courtship progresses between them, you’ll discover not only your funny bone but also her family life that’s troubled on so many levels – lack of money to the point of not affording even a toothbrush, abusive step father, beaten down mother and a bus load of younger siblings. His love for her, after unravelling all this along with her mismatched and ill-fitting clothes and unkempt red hair, is unshaken.
While her mix tape collection grows, thanks to him, their bond strengthens and this cements their romantic feelings. To quote the book, ‘They fall in love the way you do the first time, when you’re young, and you feel as if you have nothing and everything to lose’.
Then drama hits the fan. Circumstances force their separation and here’s where the book will not let you go, through tears (and a small smile) you’ll read on, hoping for a miracle, a change of events that’ll bring them back together. The ending? It’s surprising, ‘painfully real’ and as pleasurable as a warm blanket on a stormy night in Penang. Su Aziz
This book is available at any Borders book stores. For more info, see website.