Author: Rainbow Rowel
Title: Eleanor & Park
Publication Info: New York : Listening Library, 2013.
This novel set in Omaha in 1986 tells of the young love of the 16 year old protagonists Eleanor and Park. Eleanor lives in poverty with her mother’s abusive boyfriend making an ordinary teenage life impossible. Park is half-Korean and likes New Wave bands, and chooses to fly low amid the jock culture of his school. A lot about Eleanor and Park and their romance rings true. I especially like the depiction of the hierarchy aboard the school bus, and even late in the book when they must rely on the bullies for help at a time of distress. Unfortunately, a lot the other characters in the book are very two-dimensional. Eleanor’s mother’s boyfriend is a bad TV movie abusive villain. Park’s mother struggles to emerge from the Asian mother stereotype. Still, this story is a unique and honest look at the passions and ideas of young love.