Eleanor & Park (2012) – Book Review

I finished reading (audiobook) Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. I was captivated by this YA novel from beginning to end. Set in Omaha, Nebraska, it’s about two high school students’ relationship. The year is 1986, which was the year I graduated, so the references to popular culture were familiar to me. I normally am put off by too many references in books, but I enjoyed the ones in Eleanor & Park. Some were pretty obscure, like the Prefab Sprout t-shirt towards the end of the book, which I really appreciated. I feel like only a certain 80s subculture, like the one my friends and I were part of, would recognize many of the references. But others, such as Totino’s Party Pizzas (we used to eat them all the time!) are common but add a lot of context to the times.

The love story is a simple one but the details and characters were very interesting. Eleanor is a misfit, Park is half-Asian, Eleanor has a large family with an abusive stepfather, while Park’s lives in a typical household. While it’s mainly a teen romance, subjects of bullying, domestic abuse, inter-racial relationships, and racism are also talked about, but not too deeply, which is kind of a shame and I think a little bit of a missed opportunity. However, the pace of the story moves along nicely and maybe it was just the right amount of lightly touching on those heavy subjects.

One thing to note is that some of the East-Asian stereotypes can be a bit “cringey” and reading them left me a little uncomfortable, but if I think about the setting of the story, it kind of makes sense. I don’t know if the author was intentionally describing Park like that to point out the stereotyped mindset of the time, but she could have been clearer. And I have never heard of “Park” as a first name (it is a common Korean surname).

I won’t give away the ending, but I will say that I thought it was excellent and I (unlike many other readers) was satisfied. That final chapter brought a big smile to my face and a little tear to my eye. 😊 Give it a read if you haven’t already!

Note: Book cover design by Olga Grlic and illustration by Harriet Russell

******** SPOILER ALERT *********

About the ending… it reminded me of the ending to Monsters Inc. It’s that same feeling.

By the way, I made a little sketch of Eleanor wearing Park’s Prefab Sprout t-shirt::

“Eleanor”


2020 Movies & Books

Here’s my 2020 list of books I’ve read and movies I’ve watched, with my rating of how much I liked it, in parentheses (out of 10).

To see other years’ lists, click on the “List Love” menu in the top navigation.

Books

Movies and Dorama

I Am a Cat – Book Cover Design

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/4, 1/100 sec, ISO2000
“I Am a Cat” Cedar Park, 2019

こんにちは。How’s it going?

I’ve decluttered my paper book collection quite a bit, but these three volumes of I Am a Cat by Sōseki Natsume are ones that I want to keep. Not only is the story interesting and funny, but the book cover art is so great. I love it! The book lists the cover art as by H. Doki, but I cannot find any other information about the artist.

I bought these when I lived in Japan (¥1243 sticker still on the back of volume 2) and the printing was from 1995, so I am guessing the artwork can’t be that much older. I think the simple color palette for each volume is perfect. It just makes me smile. 😀

またね~

Movie and Reading Day

"Under the Kotatsu" Cedar Park, 2019
Photo info: motorola moto g(6), 3.95mm, f/1.8, 1/30 sec, ISO253
“Under the Kotatsu” Cedar Park, 2019

Today was a full day of screentime for me, starting off by joining Koa while he rewatched the excellent Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and then I caught the ending of the silly G-Force movie. After that, Koa went over to a friend’s house to hang out and I had the big tv all to myself. I watched The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, which is a story I am familiar with since I am also reading the book. The story is a glimpse into lives so different from mine, and heartbreaking, inspirational, and ultimately uplifting. A really good film, and recommended!

After that, I switched gears and watched Ip Man, which is a 2008 Hong Kong martial arts film starring Donnie Yen. The fighting scenes were pretty great, although there wasn’t much to the plot. It’s based on a true story, though, so that added a bit of weight to the film. I’m not sure if it was enough to motivate me to watch the sequels, but who knows?

To conclude my day of screentime, I finished The Lost Temple of Ssis’sythyss (The Dungeoneers Book 3) by Jeffery Russell. I thoroughly enjoyed the previous two Dungeoneers books and the third book did not disappoint! It actually takes place before the other two which was cool because you get to see how some of the main characters from the first books actually meet.

With the full day of screentime, my 2019 list of books read and movies watched is growing nicely. 😀

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Today’s photo is of our cat, Anko. It’s rare that she goes inside our kotatsu, so when it happened, I had to take a photo and send to my wife. 😆

I hope you had a nice day!

またね~

2019 Movies & Books

Here’s my 2019 list of books I’ve read and movies I’ve watched, with my rating of how much I liked it, in parentheses (out of 10).

To see other years’ lists, click on the “List Love” menu in the top navigation.

Books

Movies and Dorama