Eleanor and Park Book Review

SUMMARY: Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell is a YA romance book about two misfit teenagers, each trying to get through their own lives. Eleanor has just moved back in with her family, and is trying to juggle school and bullies and her abusive step-father. It doesn't help that her shock of red hair and eclectic fashion sense lends itself to teasing- from all parties. Park is short, and the only Asian person in school. He try to lie low, not get too much attention. If his dad would only stop telling him to man up and let him drive an automatic shift, his life would be ten times better. When Eleanor boards the bus on her first day of school, Park cusses at her then moves over to let her sit next to him. This turn of events begins a friendship that spirals from wordlessly sharing comic books to kissing behind Park's grandparent's RV.

REVIEW:

This book pleased me in a lot of ways. The style was wonderfully eclectic and genuine. I loved how all the imperfect, supposedly ugly features of the characters were portrayed along with their good ones. It really makes the story have that much more quality when authors don't try to create glazed, perfect characters with cliche' love stories. I also loved the formatting of this book- it added a lot of dimension to have the characters switch perspectives often and whenever the story best landed itself to it instead of the classic every other chapter switch. Moreover, the font and layout of my copy was gorgeous and fit perfectly with the story, enhancing the mood.

The characters were both excellent. I loved Eleanor and felt so much compassion for her. I also loved her description- her hair and style and every detail about her. All the small things added up to make such a vivid character, it was awesome to read. Park was also awesome- his clean and trimmed life clashed wonderfully with Eleanor's mess. I also liked his transformation half-way through the book- where he decided to be himself, no matter his parent's or anyone else's opinions. I thought it was an interesting part how the girl didn't wear makeup but the boy did. It was such a good representation of the fact that boys and girls should be able to express themselves however they want, disregarding gender stereotypes.

The families in the book were also very dynamic and real. I didn't have them all figured out by the end of the book, which was best because real life families are hard to figure out too. My opinions of the characters also changed throughout the book- blatant dislike becoming grudging sympathy, and even in some cases respect, as I saw their background and the heart of who they truly were.

The plot of this book was more simple than the rest of the book I would say. All the details made the otherwise simple plot work better for the whole. It covered all the usual romance book plot points- meeting each other, first time holding hands, first kiss, first time calling girlfriend/boyfriend, a fight, the moment he says I love you, and then the heartbreaking ending. Seriously, the heartbreaking ending is the worst. Why can't romance books never end happily??

This particular ending was not only sad, it also didn't make a lot of sense. I mean, the part about her needing to move made sense. But I didn't understand why Eleanor didn't write or call or anything. It seemed cruel, harsh, and pointless. It wasn't like he was dead- she still had lots of chances of reconnecting, even getting married to him in the future. Why she decided to cease all connection I wasn't sure. It seemed a ploy to make sure that the reader experienced heart wrenching grief, but I supposed it could be plausible since sometimes people who have had a hard time keeping healthy relationships with the past feel the need to break it off.

The post card at the end was the most minimal shred of hope, apparently there so that the reader would have a tiny grasp of sanity to cling to. That's exactly what it was for me.

Overall, this book was wonderful, and horrible in the fact that it might ruin your heart. In my opinion it was well worth the read- but read at your own risk. :)


What did you think of Eleanor and Park? Did it break your heart? Comment below!

10 comments :

  1. "Why can't romance books never end happily??"
    Because romance books that have a happy ending are too good to be true? Haha. This is exactly why I LOVE Eleanor and Park. Nice to know that you think this book is wonderful :)
    x Tiara
    http://awaveofvellichor.wordpress.com

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    1. Thank you! Eleanor and Park is amazing isn't it? Thanks for your comment!

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  2. I was forced to read this book for school, and I didn't enjoy it very much. I'm not the romance type reader in the first place, but I found the progression from Park nearly hating Eleanor to suddenly becoming infatuated with her was a little hard to read. And I agree about the ending, it didn't make sense that Eleanor completely abandoned Park. That was insensitive of her. I think it's a rather personal thing, maybe I'm just not cut out to read romance novels. But I'm glad you enjoyed it.

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    1. This is such a good opposing perspective Oakstar, and I'm really glad you commented with it. You are so right- everyone has a different opinion. I can see how the hate between the two progressing into love could have been difficult to read, depending on how you look at it. Thank you for your comment <3

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  3. I've gone back and forth about reading this for a while, but I really should get around to it!

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    1. Yeah, pick it up if you get the chance! It's a great read!

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  4. I wrote a review on this book recently too! Eleanor and Park was a really hyped up book in the world of book bloggers so when I picked it up at the book store, I thought "well, i should probably read this book to fit in with the book bloggers" lol.

    the-emo-wolverine-writes.blogspot.com

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    1. haha- yeah the blogosphere loves it! I will definitely read your review! Thanks for the comment <3

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  5. "It was such a good representation of the fact that boys and girls should be able to express themselves however they want, disregarding gender stereotypes." HALLELUJAH MY FRIEND, HALLELUJAH. *tapes this up everywhere*
    i read this when it first came out and it struck me as sort of bland? maybe that's just rainbow rowel's writing style, though, as i really loved the characters (particularly park).

    evelyn clickman @ if these stars shall fall

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    1. I agree that her style is a sort of acquired taste, and I can totally see how some would have found it bland. I personally thought it poetic, but I think it's really just a matter of opinion, and neither is right or wrong. And I love both Park and Eleanor so much <3

      AND YES!!! That was probably one of my favorite points this book made!!

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