Eleanor & Park


Eleanor & Park
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Genre: Young Adult/Romance

This story is for all those 80s and 90s teenagers who grew up listening to mix tapes on walkmans and being the ultimate obscure personalities at school. This is a not so typical love story where the misfits are protagonists.

Park is a boy with few friends and even fewer words. He finds comfort in his superhero comics and music. Eleanor is the new kid in the school who is a diminishing shadow of her beautiful mother. She is plump, has red, curly hair which has made her the subject of mockery of the mean girls from her day 1 in the school. These two characters are thrust into a situation together with no other option – they share the same seat on the school bus.

This is their love story. A love which slowly blossoms and goes from innocent to gentle to passionate all in the course of 1 year. This is also the story of their personal struggles; the story of a love which would make you wonder and question a lot of things.

At least, I had my thoughts and questions.

It is a teenage love story filled with turbulence;
what will the end be?
They are too young to get married.
They are not even mature enough to understand long-term commitments.
So what would the end be?
The author really cannot go on about their entire lives.

These thoughts kept gnawing me all throughout. But then the end did arrive. And even though it left me wanting more it was in a way a beautiful ending.

Eleanor & Park is a sure shot hit with people who love love-stories. For me it was a refreshing change or one can say a happy break from the serious or action-packed subjects that I have been reading.

The author has kept the characters real and vulnerable. And perhaps that is one thing why I didn’t dislike this love story. For once, it was not a nauseating sweet love story or something with some stark and grave tragedy. Although, many people have criticized the book on the basis of its timeliness. But I am not such a minute picker.

All in all, I enjoyed reading the book and loved Rainbow Rowell’s writing. I might even give her other books a try; Fangirl for sure.

Room – Emma Donoghue


2 weeks back, a glance through the ticketing app had me booking tickets for this movie called Room. It had great reviews and through that, I even came to know that the movie is based on a Booker Prize-nominated book of the same name.

The movie was good. It has some brilliant performances although, like every book turned into a movie, many details have been trimmed. So, if you want to enjoy the movie, I suggest you do it before reading the book.

But, then it sure does acts as a big spoiler to the book.

The reason that triggered me to watch the movie was the same to pick up the book – the extraordinary plot.

5-year-old Jack was born in Room and has been living in it ever since with his Ma. Jack’s world comprises of and is limited to Ma and all things in Room. For him, it is just Room and then outer space. And then all the ‘unlying’ happens. After 5 years, Jack is introduced to ‘Outside’ where all the world exists.

Room is not a typical tale of escaping from confinement. It is more like a before-after story. It tells you about how a young mother nurtures her kid despite limited space and resources. It is the story of how a kid fights all his fears and helps his mother get out of 7 years of captivity. It is also the story of the struggles of these two when they finally achieve the one thing they wanted most.

First half of the book contains the frustrating mundanity of life in Room. So much so that readers might want to just leave it at that. But if one holds on, they will realize how it was necessary to communicate that frustration. Then there is the ‘Great Escape’ which will leave your heart thumping and your hands gripping the book. And then the freedom.

Room is narrated by Jack. The writer has done a good job at bringing forth the imperfect knowledge and rigid pragmatism of a 5-year-old who believes that he knows everything. “In Room we knowed what everything was called but in the world there’s so much, persons don’t even know the names.”

Emma Donoghue has treated her characters with honesty. She has made them imperfect, flawed, and selfish to the extent that each one of us would be in their situation. But said that, one cannot not marvel at their grit, their brevity, their determination, and their ingenuity. Both the protagonists are powerful and more than that honest. And I would recommend anyone to read this book just to experience that honesty in story.