We owe it to each other to tell stories - Neil Gaiman

Monday, 16 March 2015

Eleanor & Park - Rainbow Rowell

Title: Eleanor & Park

Author: Rainbow Rowell

Pages: 336

Publisher: Orion

Source: purchased from Exclusive Books

The Synopsis

Eleanor is the new girl in town, and with her chaotic family life, her mismatched clothes and unruly red hair, she couldn't stick out more if she tried.

Park is the boy at the back of the school bus. Black T-shirts,  headphones, head in a book - he thinks he's made himself invisible. But not to Eleanor... never to Eleanor.

Slowly, steadily, through late-night conversations, and an ever-growing stack of mix tapes, Eleanor and Park fall for each other. They fall in love the way you do the first time, when you're young, and when you feel as if you have nothing and everything to lose.

The Review

Once I started reading Eleanor & Park I could not stop. I read it in one sitting. It is such an emotional roller coaster ride. I started my reading off being intrigued, and ended with a broken heart.

This book broke my heart for so many different reasons; all the cruelty experienced by Eleanor, the loss experienced by Park. The abuse experienced by Eleanor and her family is just so incredibly unfair. Abuse is insidious, it sometimes occurs in innocuous actions. It is one of the worst things that can happen. The way that Rowell describes it is perfect, and it just breaks your heart. More books need to be written like this to help readers to identify the seemingly innocuous ways in which abuse occurs.

I love how Eleanor & Parks shows how delicate and perfect first love is, or rather how it should be. I wish I could have a Park in my life. The beauty of the relationship between Eleanor and Park is just so flawless, you want to protect it like you would a flame from the wind. You realise that Eleanor and Park are just what the other needs at that time of their lives. Park becomes the necessary escape that Eleanor needs from home whilst Eleanor gives Park the confidence to be okay with his being different.

My heart breaks for both Eleanor and Park at the end, but more so for Park. I shan't say more as I do not want to ruin it for you if you have not read it yet.

Rainbow Rowell may actually be my new favourite YA author. Her style of writing is just perfect for the story she is telling. Her writing is so good that it is almost hypnotic. Rowell has perfectly described what your first relationship should be like, and it is well just perfect.

There is one word that I have used over and over, which is the only way to describe the way that Rainbow Rowell has written Eleanor & Park as well as the story of Eleanor & Park and that is PERFECT. It is hard to believe that a school district in Minnesota decided to ban this book. This book that is so real and could easily be so true.

If you have not yet read Eleanor & Park please do. This is one of those books that I want to give to everyone I know and say, "Please, you have to read this" because it is one of those books that you need to read in order to see.

UPCOMING SA FICTION: The Dream House - Craig Higginson

A farmhouse is being reproduced a dozen times, with slight variations, throughout a valley. Three small graves have been dug in the front garden, the middle one lying empty. A woman in a wheelchair sorts through boxes while her husband clambers around the old demolished buildings, wondering where the animals have gone. A young woman –called ‘the barren one’ behind her back – dreams of love, while an ageing headmaster contemplates the end of his life. At the entrance to the long dirt driveway, a car appears and pauses – pointed towards the house like a silver bullet, ticking with heat.

So begins The Dream House, Craig Higginson’s riveting and unforgettable novel set in the Midlands of KwaZulu-Natal. Written with dark wit, a stark poetic style and extraordinary tenderness, this is a story about the state of a nation and a deep meditation on memory, ageing, meaning, family, love and loss. The Dream House is written with such a fierce and steady compassion that the reader can only come away from it transformed – ready to take on the challenges of living with a renewed heart and a bigger vision.

The Dream House is an open and frank exploration of human life that resonates beyond race. Looksmart is a welcome new kind of character in the constantly evolving reality of African literature.’ – NADINE GORDIMER

The Dream House is beautifully written. Its politics is understated and its portrayal of South Africa is characterised by a constant movement between affection, anger, nostalgia, resistance and the characters’ acceptance of what is part of the human condition.’ – MARK BEHR

CRAIG HIGGINSON lives in Johannesburg. His previous novels include Last Summer and the award-winning The Landscape Painter (both Picador Africa). His plays include Dream of the Dog,
The Girl in the Yellow Dress, The Jungle Book and Little Foot (all published by Oberon Books, London). His next two plays – The Imagined Land and The Red Door – are scheduled to be published and produced in the next eighteen months.

Terry Pratchett 1948 - 2015

The literary world has been left reeling yet again in 2015, by the loss of one of the most beloved, prolific fantasy authors. It is with immeasurable sadness that we announce that author Sir Terry Pratchett has died at the age of 66.

Larry Finlay, MD at Transworld Publishers: "I was deeply saddened to learn that Sir Terry Pratchett has died. The world has lost one of its brightest, sharpest minds. In over 70 books, Terry enriched the planet like few before him. As all who read him know, Discworld was his vehicle to satirize this world: he did so brilliantly, with great skill, enormous humour and constant invention. Terry faced his Alzheimer's disease (an 'embuggerance', as he called it) publicly and bravely. Over the last few years, it was his writing that sustained him. His legacy will endure for decades to come. My sympathies go out to Terry's wife Lyn, their daughter Rhianna, to his close friend Rob Wilkins, and to all closest to him."

Terry passed away in his home, with his cat sleeping on his bed surrounded by his family on 12th March 2015. Diagnosed with PCA in 2007, he battled the progressive disease with his trademark determination and creativity, and continued to write. He completed his last book, a new Discworld novel, in the summer of 2014, before succumbing to the final stages of the disease.

May Sir Terry live on in the ripples that will continue to be caused through the immortality granted to him by the voracious reading of his books.