Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Tournament of Books: Lahiri vs. Rowell

I'm playing along with the Tournament of Books

Today's book match:

The Lowland v. Eleanor & Park

The Lowland is a story about a man whose brother dies, and he marries his brother's widow and moves to Rhode Island while he attends school.  It is a familiar type of story for Lahiri, but to me, not as emotionally connected with the characters (neither with each other or with the reader) as previous books such as The Namesake.

Emotional connection.  That all important bond between reader and author.  One of the education professors where I work said it better than I ever could in his review of Eleanor & Park, because he connected on such a deep level with the novel. I can't imagine anyone ever having such a strong connection with The Lowland. It simply isn't there.

I loved Eleanor & Park because it took me back to high school - the long bus rides, convincing the people who intimidated me that I did not care what people thought, enduring comments on my appearance and feeling awkward - Rainbow Rowell doesn't shy away from any of it.

I can't believe the book has been as heavily censored as it has been; honestly I didn't even notice any profanity or overt sexual content if it was even there because it's all written so realistically.  Librarians are compelled to fight censorship, so I connected with it on two levels - shared experience and protective librarian!  There's just no contest, this round goes to: Eleanor & Park.

ETA: See the opinion of official judge Jami Attenberg at the Tournament of Books site.

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