The end of this book is bitter-sweet.
As I suspected, Eleanor’s stepfather finally finds out about her having a boyfriend. When she returns home after spending the day with Park, she goes straight to bed and finds her secret cache (comics, music, make-up…) all over her bed. And there’s a message from Ritchie, calling her terrible names. When she sees his handwriting and the use of lower-case letters, she realizes that the obscene messages in her books come from Ritchie. Eleanor knows she can’t stay, and she flees.
Once outside she runs into Tina and Steve, and she tells her that Ritchie has been driving around the neighbourhood, looking for her. I like the part in which Tina helps Eleanor. Tina is not the heartless monster Eleanor used to think, and it’s clear she has a good heart. When Eleanor tells Park about what’s happening and her intentions to leave and find shelter with her brother in Minnesota, the boy says he’ll drive her there. I also love the part in which Park’s father catches him before leaving, and Park has to tell him. Instead of thwarting his intentions, his father understands him and even gives him money.
The journey to Eleanor’s uncle’s is quite gloomy as the couple knows they’ll have to say goodbye. Park promises to write, and so does Eleanor. Yet, while Park keeps writing to her, letters and packages we know that remain unopened, Eleanor doesn’t ring or write to him. Yet, one year later Park receives a postcard, and all we know is that Eleanor has only written three words. We can guess that she has finally told him what she hasn’t been able to do until know: I love you. I’m glad that Eleanor left the hell that was her own home, and it seems she found peace with her uncle and aunt. We also know that Eleanor’s mother and the children left, and Park has a strong exchange with Ritchie. The man was drunk, and he was no rival to Park, who angrily beat him as some kind of revenge for Eleanor.
I would have liked a sweeter ending, but it was beautiful anyway. The characters really touch your soul, and I really suffered and loved alongside them. Just beautiful.