Hello everyone! Welcome to an unexpected stop in the blog schedule, but I felt it was a really necessary one.
Last week I found out via Epic Read's Tea Time that this week was Banned Books Week in the US. I wouldn't have thought it'd still be an issue nowadays, the banning of books but it apparently really is a big issue in many areas all around the US. For more info visit this page.
I must say I'm not entirely sure if that ever happens here in Spain, but I really highly doubt it... maybe in private and more religious schools they might have different lists of recommended reads, but I don't think censorship is relevant in public libraries, still I'm going to do some research and ask in my local library about the issue.
Banning books and censoring them... it just sticks of repression and exertion of power without good reason, even more when you actually look at books that were banned and the reasons for banning them: 15 books banned for the crappiest reasons and then you can also read EpicRead's 12 Signs You're A Banned Book Reader.
As an absolutely book lover, total bookworm and enthusiastic reader that never had her taste on what to read questioned at home... this is absolutely bewildering! My parents apparently trusted that whatever I read wouldn't damage me and weren't questioning what books I took out of the library. At 14 I was devouring books about mythology where intrigues, infidelity and cold blood murder were rampant, I was devouring science fiction and books about alternate theories about Christiany all through high school, along with historical fiction and whatever else I could get my hands onto. And I believe that books are safe place to read about equally good and bad things about life, before you have to face them yourself, and they're also your best friends when you need to hide away from the world around you. No one has a right to impose their views on what others should or should not read, even more when half the time is clear they don't even know what they're talking about!
Once that rant is out of my system, to the review at hand! Eleanor and Park is one of the books that has had to deal with censorship and banishment more recently, so I decided that I really needed to read it for Banned Books Week!
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I had heard so many good things about this book from other bloggers but since I'm usually wary of contemporaries I was a bit reluctant. Then came the author's Fangirl and after even more gushing from my reference bloggers, I gave it a chance and absolutely loved it! After that it was a question time that I read Eleanor and Park, but my timing was given by the news that an association of parents from a school district in US wanted to ban it. Cue my shock (and indignation) face of "does that really STILL happen in a democratic country??" Because I wouldn't have been surprised to hear of any book being banned in a country with a teocracy in charge, or a dictatorship, since those aren't big on thinking for yourself but in the so-called "land of the free"? Colour me shocked! (and again indignant!).
Then Tea Time from Epic Reads & Harper Teen talked about the issue and Banned Books Week, and I knew I would read Eleanor and Park for that week and would support the author and the freedom to read whatever you want!
And boy, am I glad that I did! This is a brilliant book! It's a tough book to read, full of real life issues. It's raw, it's real and it's full of what's ugly out there, yes. But it is also treated in a very realistic way with loads of hope. And does show us that there's always light in dark places. The biggest message I get from Eleanor & Park is that one, hope.
Hope that we can find someone that will make us smile even in unlikely situations, hope that friends can be found even when you are trying to keep everyone at a distance, hope that love can happen even to those who don't believe they deserve it. Hope that good things can happen even when you had given up on hope itself.
Eleanor and Park is a story about two kids that fall in love, with their very different backgrounds and their own different stories. It's a story with gritty and dark corners cause life is not all rainbows and fluffly unicorns, so it's raw and real and so are the characters, flawed, real, with issues, damaged and growing.
The characters feel real, the story feels real, the pacing, the progression, the issues, the ending... everything feels real, like this might be a story that has actually happened to someone and we get their story through the very expert hands of Rainbow Rowell.
I know now that I will read everything that she writes, because this book is a very much deserving 5 stars for me!
View all my reviews