Skip to main content


Literary Friday: The Fourth Fisherman and Eleanor & Park

Friday, July 19, 2013

Happy Friday morning, Lovelies!  I know, I know....I keep getting later and later with these Literary Friday posts, but I know you'll cut me some slack since it's summer!  We've had so many birthdays this week:  Shelley's Sweet 16, my sister-in-law's,  Mr. Art @ Home's, my friend's and her daughter's, and today is my mom's birthday, but we'll be celebrating tomorrow after a horse show.  Can we possibly fit any more into a week?

I've been reading a lot this summer during Shelley's tutoring sessions at the library.  I'm far behind in posting about these books, so I might start writing about two books per Literary Friday post.

One book I want to share with you this week is Eleanor & Park.  Our If You Give a Blogger a Book...Club read it this month, and I've been wanting to read it because it's set in the eighties.  I went to HS and college during the *best decade ever*, and I'd read a few reviews that made the book sound very promising.  I must confess that I almost put the book down in the beginning because the language was terrible.  I know that bad language is much more accepted now than then, but quite frankly, most teens did not talk like that in the eighties.  Everyone talked like Moon Unit Zappa, or wanted to at least.  But I digress....the point I'm trying to make is that the language didn't add anything to the story, and it's almost like it was added to the first part of the book as an afterthought because the language improves for the rest of the book.

Eleanor & Park is a very sweet story about two misfits who fall in love in the mid-eighties.  When Park first sees Eleanor at the bus stop, he becomes angry with her because he thinks that she's asking for abuse the way she's dressed. As an added bonus, she has unruly, fiery red hair.  There are few seats left on the bus, and Park usually sits by himself.  He pities her to the point where he offers her a seat beside him.  They soon bond over Marvel comics (I was a Marvel girl, too) and The Smiths, and quickly become boyfriend and girlfriend.  I love Park's character: He is the boyfriend who we all longed for in the eighties.  He's kind, generous, and protective.  Eleanor needs someone to protect her because her home life is abominable.

Told alternately in Park's and Eleanor's point of view, Rowell reveals each character's yearnings, angst, and fears masterfully.  I normally don't like multiple POV's, but Rowell nails each fully-developed character, and I don't think it would have been as good had she stuck to one POV or written it in third person.  If you skip over the horrible language in the beginning, I think you would love the story.  It is well-written and so sweet.  I do not recommend this book for younger teens at all due to mature themes (abuse) and language.

Pure Imagination blog has a cute post inspired by Eleanor & Park.  I hope you'll check it out!

Mia @ The Chronicles of Chaos sent me The Fourth Fisherman for the Books 'n' Bloggers Swap @ Chaotic Goddess Swaps.  I don't normally read memoirs, but I really enjoyed this one.  Mia said that there are some things that can only be explained by God, and in the case of the events depicted in this book, I couldn't agree more.

In The Fourth Fisherman, Joe Kissack weaves his story with the story of the Mexican fisherman who miraculously survive in a tiny boat for more than nine months in the Pacific Ocean.  The real story of the fisherman's survival and faith become an allegory to the struggles Kissack faces as he almost dies from substance abuse and practically loses everything.  During his recovery, Kissack's priorities drastically change, and he commits his life to a higher purpose.  He becomes obsessed with the story of the fisherman's survival and faith in the midst of dire circumstances.  Kissack's obsession with the Mexican fishermen takes him to Mexico where he meets them and secures the rights to share the story of their faith to the world.  The book hasn't been made into a movie yet, but I hope it does because it's a great story.  Kissack seems very honest in his portrayal of his life, both before and after his friend shares his faith with him.  But Jesus and the fisherman aren't the only heroes in this book.  Joe's wife, Carmen, is a superstar, and I would love to have a friend like her!

Please share your books here @ Literary Friday!

Literary Friday


Until next time...

Happy reading!
Ricki Jill


  1. I too am way behind on posting my reviews. Guess I should double up like you did. Have to confess I think I'll skip both of these, I hate foul language in a book it just doesn't need to be there, to me it is a sign of a week writer, not creative enough to think of a way to get the same emotion with different words.

    Glad you are having a great summer!

  2. I think you saved me a few dollars on that first one because I definitely would've gotten sucked in my the cover and setting!

  3. Eleanor & Park intrigues me (being also an 80's girl), but it's good to have a warning about the language! I feel pushed out of a story when the language doesn't match the character/time period, and one of the most fun thing about the 80's was the slang we all used (at least in CA). It's good to know that the book deals with heavier themes...was it satisfying, overall?

    1. LOL Didn't we all want to be Valley Girls? We used the same slang in Alabama. Eleanor and Park did not talk the way their classmates did on the bus. I wonder if it might be more of an editing issue. If you ever read the book, I'd like your opinion.

      Rainbow Rowell does a great job with the trends, pop culture (especially music), and fashion, but certainly not the language!

      I loved the story. Imagine Andie and Ducky from Pretty in Pink ending-up together (which was John Hughes' original and preferred ending). Park is half-Korean growing-up in Omaha, and he's the only Asian kid at his school. Eleanor is different given her circumstances. They are two great kids!

  4. I am only half way through Eleanor & Park. The second book sounds very good.

  5. Eleanor & Park sounds like a lot of fun!

  6. Eleanor & Park sounds like a lot of fun. Ducky & Andie is a bit wild to think about though.


Comments are friendly!

Hello, Lovelies!

I'm Ricki Jill. Welcome! I'm honored that you're reading my blog. I enjoy sharing my creative lifestyle @ The Bookish Dilettante. For more information about my blog, please read the Start Here page. Thank-you for stopping by, and I hope you'll consider following me via email.


Follow me on Instagram