Saturday, September 28, 2013

Banned Book Week Spotlight : Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell











Library Book

There has been a lot of press about Eleanor & Park due to its being challenged for subject matter and profanity. What has surprised me most about the incident is that all the children involved have already read the novel. Across the board students embraced this novel. The complaints stemmed from the subject matter and what some thought of as offensive language and situations. What I think is an integral question to ask is where were these concerned individuals when the actual reading occurred ? To be filled with ire after the fact and not willing to compromise in terms of Rowell’s visit and the availability of the book seems extremely unreasonable to me.

I had plans to read E & P at some point but after reading about the situation I bumped to the top of my reading list.

There are so many wonderful layers to this novel but at it’s heart it is a story of love, faith, and perseverance. Eleanor and Park are brought together by one small act of compassion. Eleanor has returned to the home of her Mother and Stepfather and younger siblings. It is not a comfortable situation and having to deal with the initial hazing and bullying of a new school doesn't help . Yet one move by Park to a window seat creates an opening for communication that slowly builds to friendship and love.

Park is initially angry at himself for making way for Eleanor but as weeks pass he finds in her a peace and freedom he has never felt before.

For Eleanor their relationship opens a different door. She lives on eggshells in a house where one wrong word or action can destroy her world. There is no solace for Eleanor at  home. Her Mother will not fully look at the dysfunction in their home, her siblings watch her like a hawk always wanting to touch her meager possessions and barter her secrets for advantage. Eleanor knows the risks and she takes them for a chance with Park, apiece of her life that belongs solely to her.

There is such a wonderful beauty to this book. It connects to readers no matter what their age or ethnicity. There are a million Eleanor's in the world. I know because I was one of them. Though not to the extent as Eleanor's home there were challenges in my home that I never spoke of. I poured myself into school and books the things that made sense, the things that gave me hope. This is a novel that needs to be accessible, to inspire and guide others in similar situations.


The main reasons many have protested this book was due to  profanity. There are instance of foul language in this book but they are not gratuitous. This book would benefit by parental guidance depending on the age of the reader.

Such a powerful and enjoyable read. I highly recommend it.

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