As some of you may know, @mostlyalit,) @a_wordsmith and myself have co-ordinated a Twitter read-along of Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell to take place between May 2 and May 23. If you'd still like to sign up, you can do so here: http://www.linkytools.com/basic_linky_include.aspx?id=195034"
So after the first week of reading Chapter's 1-10, here are some of our initial thoughts:
Me: I'd like to know more about Eleanor's background. Why did Richie kick her out? Why did her mother choose now to bring her home? I just feel so much empathy for Eleanor. She really doesn't seem to belong anywhere- not wanted at home, and picked on everywhere else. I also totally understood where Park was coming from being glad the kids were picking on Eleanor and not him. It sounds cruel, but when you're being bullied, you're grateful when they stop paying attention to you.
I totally felt the same way as Rachel about Park being secretly glad the kids were picking on Eleanor instead of him...that’s completely how I felt when I was teased in elementary school. It was always a relief when it was someone else, even though I knew exactly how it felt. Also, what Eleanor thinks about gym class as torture is EXACTLY how I felt about gym when I was a kid. If there’s dodgeball in this book, I’m probably going to break down.
I’m really liking the writing so far - the metaphors and similes are easy to see in my head, but also very carefully chosen
Rowell wastes no time developing her characters. I love it! ...I’m already intrigued by these characters and I actually have empathy for both of them. I’m looking forward to reading on to see how Park and Eleanor continue to negotiate not only their relationship, but their relationships with the people around them. I’m already rooting for these two. Maybe that’s because I can relate to school-aged awkwardness :) I like the author’s narrative approach. We get into the thoughts/emotions of all the characters very easily. Her writing flows. Her descriptions and dialogue works so well in helping us to picture the scenes in this book. I’m already a fan of the short chapters. Even that seems symbolic of the tension between and awkwardness of these characters.
Joanne: I so felt for Eleanor on the bus. Wow, she could have been me at that age, with the awkward attitude and the clothes that made her stand out... I really felt for Park, too--his angst over getting picked on and conflicting with his guilt over not helping Eleanor was so real. I like him already and am interested to see where this is going....One thing that bothers me, and maybe this is the writer in me, is the 1986 setting. I TOTALLY identify with the pop culture... but... This book is considered YA, right? How is any kid going to identify with these references?...I wonder if this is going to bug me throughout.
Based on our thoughts, here are a few questions to discuss from the first 10 chapters. (I'll try not to spoil anything, but beware if you haven't read this far yet!)
1. What are your initial impressions of Eleanor's mother? What kind of mother is she to Eleanor's siblings, and to Eleanor? Why do you think she's like that?
2. Try to imagine yourself living in Eleanor's house, without any privacy, and not even a door on the bathroom. How would you create your own space in that environment?
3. The first time Eleanor and Park see one another, he is (somewhat rudely) telling her to sit down. What motivation does he have for helping her out?
4. How does the 80's setting impact your reading? Do you like it? Dislike it? Why?
5. What are a few of the key themes you see emerging after the reading the first 10 chapters?