I really didn’t know what I was getting into with this one. I listened to the audiobook as I walked and also while I painted the bathroom. Well what happens though is you start getting teary in the most inopportune times.
This book is TENDER. That’s the best word I can think of for it: like Eleanor, if you are in sync with the novel, you are on the verge of tears throughout every moment of the novel. It’s very sweet in earnest and honest way, and there’s the constant feeling that the good things that are happening could stop at any moment, and that would be very sad. So there’s a desperate feeling to try either not trust things or to control them.
So, if you don’t this one: Eleanor is at a new school in Omaha. She is returning from a year of being kicked out of her house by her stepfather, a younger man who has married her mother with whom he has a son, and lives with her other brothers and sisters. There’s five of them now and Eleanor is the oldest. The house doesn’t have doors, is filled to the brim with eggshells not to stepped on, and Ritchie (the stepdad) has a long reputation around town. On the bus on her first day of school, with nowhere to sit she flounders a little until “a weird Asian? kid” tells her to sit down. Park doesn’t know anything about the weird new kids, but he kind of feels bad for her, but also think she brings it on herself. Days and days of riding on the bus pass, and he notices that she’s reading his comics over his shoulder, and so one day, for reasons he doesn’t even understand himself, he slows his pace so she can read with him. Then he starts bringing comics to read at home. And it goes from there.