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Book Review: Eleanor and Park


Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
Published by: St. Martin’s Press, February 2013
Pages: 328
Status: Read on November 23, 2015

25 stars

Goodreads Summary:
Two misfits.
One extraordinary love.

Eleanor… Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough…Eleanor.

Park… He knows she’ll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There’s a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises…Park.

Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.

My Thoughts:

I started reading this book in March, so it took me a long, long time to finish this book and I put it away many times… I REALLY wanted to love this book, like I did with Attachements and Fangirl, but it just did not happen.

So some reasons why I did not like this book as much as I wanted to:

1. The romance

For me, the romance between Park and Eleanor felt rushed. The step from ‘people who sit on the same bus’ and friends seemed nice, but then suddenly they had a relationship. For me, their relationship just worked better as friendship than as love.

Apart from this, the relationship also felt weird to me. Like this quote:
” I don’t like you, I think I live for you” – Eleanor

How can this ever be a normal, healthy relationship? These characters are 16 and maybe it’s supposed to be overly romantic and first-love-like, but to me it just felt unhealthy.

2. The setting

This book is supposed to take place in Omaha, 1986. There is supposed to be a ton of racial tension, where Park is half Korean and half white. I have to admit I wouldn’t have guessed this time setting from reading the book. I felt like the amount of racism was less than there is now in many places. Apart from this, Eleanor also was the only one picked on. So in this white school, in a racist place, people decided to pick on the white girl…

There is a bit about Park not accepting himself and disliking his femininity and a lot of references to old music, but I personally thought Park just was a hipster half of the time!

3. The plot

This story was mainly about the romance and I mainly cared about anything but the romance… I was very interested in how Park viewed his mother and even more interested in Eleanor’s situation, but these were not the points the book focused on.

I did not hate this book and a lot of people love it, but I think it just was not for me. I loved Attachement, binge-read Fangirl, liked Landline and Eleanor and Park just felt kind of ‘meh’ to me.

” He made her feel like more than the sum of her parts. ”

3 thoughts on “Book Review: Eleanor and Park

  1. This is an interesting review! 😀 I have to say, Eleanor & Park is one of my favorite books. I still need to read Fangirl, though. You’re right about many points in your review, it kind of feels a little unhealthy, their relationship, when you start thinking about it ! 🙂

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