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
I have never understood the whole act of banning books. Just an odd concept to me.ReplyDelete
I really enjoyed E&P too! I loved how real the characters where and how easy it was to read because of the beautiful writing.
My Friends Are Fiction
Yeah, that's what gets me the most of Rainbow's writing, how real everything feels as you read it!Delete
And banning books seems so medieval to me!!
I haven't read Eleanor and Park yet, but I already find it completely surprising to hear that parents wanted it banned. Anyway, I'm glad it worked for you! I'm nearly finished with Fangirl and completely enjoying it so far, so I definitely think I'll pick up E&P when I can now. Lovely review, Pili. And thanks for sharing!ReplyDelete
Thank you, Sam! Fangirl was a lot of fun too! Hope you will enjoy Eleanor and Park, can't wait to read your review if/when you do!Delete
I actually can't believe this book is banned! And it's probably only because of sexual references and language, which are VERY stupid reasons for banning this beautiful book!ReplyDelete
Your review made me smile and made me want to go and re-read it (even though I only read it last week!). I completely agree with the whole banning books thing. Books shouldn't be banned. It's up to each and every person what they choose to read but they should go out of their way to prevent others from reading book. It's so stupid!
But yes, I LOVED your review and I definitely need to get on to reading more of Rainbow Rowell's books :)
Thank you, Samanthat!Delete
I know it's so sad than they tried to ban this book due to language and sexual references! It just go to show that the people trying to ban books are completely oblivious to the world their kids are living in!
I rarely read contemporary too, but I've been hearing such fabulous things about Rainbow Rowell and her books, I'll really need to give this one a chance. I'm actually quite looking forward to it, and I never look forward to contemporary - I'm a very reluctant realistic fiction reader. :)ReplyDelete
Thanks for the lovely review. I can't believe they wanted to ban this. Ridiculous.
Yeah, contemporaries in YA usually are SO NOT my style of reads... I tend to feel they're too full of cliches and topical happenings... but the two I've read by Rainbow Rowell I can really recommend, they read so real! Hope you'll check them out, Maja!Delete
Banning books is irritating. It makes me want to read the books even more just to prove the stuffy people banning books that they have no power over me.ReplyDelete
I've actually never read a book by Rainbow Rowell and I'm starting to realize that needs to change. Great review!
-P.E. @ The Sirenic Codex
Banning books is a very cruel and selfish way of putting yourself and what you think above everyone else!Delete
You should give either this one or Fangirl (or both) a chance soon!
As an American, "banned books week" is taboo to me too. But I guess that shows you what happens when some people feel their "rights" are more important than others. It's just too bad that these parents value their "rights" above even their children's.
Completely agreed, Octavia!!Delete
Agreed, Aman! Such a wonderful book, with such a positive message that face ugly issues that life shows us!ReplyDelete
I never understood banning books. You're right, it reeks of repression and certainly doesn't follow along with the ideas of a "free" country!ReplyDelete
I guess some people don't understand than their freedom ends where the start of other's freedom is... oh well!Delete
I want to read this book since I read a very wonderful quote on a facebook status. I didn't know it was from this book till 3 days ago! Now, I'm dying to have the chance to read it!ReplyDelete
Lis @ The reader lines
Thank you, Lis! Hope you'll enjoy it when/if you do!Delete
I just ordered it from my library. I actually enjoy reading books that present harsh realities because I think it's important to feel the tragedies life sometimes dishes out, even if it's done through fictional characters.ReplyDelete
It's amazing what the "land of the free" gets away with sometimes. I feel like that's more of a title we've made for ourselves than an actual way of life. That being said, the library I work for RARELY removes books from our collection. We have a review process so that the community has the option to voice their opinions when they feel a book should be removed from the shelves, but ultimately we almost always decide to keep even the most controversial books and movies so that people can make up their own minds about them.
My philosophy has always been that if you don't like it, don't do it, but it's never okay to make that decision for others based on your own feelings. This point of view applies to books, but it extends to many other facets of life as well in my mind. Live and let live, ya know?
I love hearing your librarian perspective, Holly and so very glad that your library listens to their patrons but also don't take things away so other people with different views can still enjoy books that others disliked or found offensive.Delete
Very well put, Holly. Live and let live!
Eleanor and Park is a great book. The banning of any books is wrong and unnecessaryReplyDelete
Love your post!
Thank you, Katie!Delete
Book banning really makes my blood boil!