Review: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Posted 17 October, 2013 by Gabbie in Review / 2 Comments

Review: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow RowellEleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin on February 26, 2013
Source: Library
Pages: 325
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Bono met his wife in high school, Park says.
So did Jerry Lee Lewis, Eleanor answers.
I’m not kidding, he says.
You should be, she says, we’re 16.
What about Romeo and Juliet?
Shallow, confused, then dead.
I love you, Park says.
Wherefore art thou, Eleanor answers.
I’m not kidding, he says.
You should be.

Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love—and just how hard it pulled you under.


Favorite Quote(s):

“Nothing was dirty. With Park. Nothing could be shameful. Because Park was the sun, and that was the only way Eleanor could think to explain it.”

“’I look like a hobo?’
‘Worse,’ he said. ‘Like a sad hobo clown.’
‘And you like it?’
‘I love it.’
As soon as he said it, she broke into a smile. And when Eleanor smiled, something broke inside of him.
Something always did.”

Favorite Character: …Park. But that’s a hard one!
First Line:

“XTC was no good for drowning out the morons at the back of the bus.”

My Musings: I have been hearing fantastic things about Eleanor and Park ever since it came out. I’ve not had time to read it until recently, and I must say, it was a very unique book.

Eleanor and Park was unlike anything that I have ever read before. For one, it was set in the eighties, which was a little bit upsetting for me. I didn’t understand any of the references made throughout the novel, being a late nineties baby myself. Other than that, it was about two misfits–Eleanor and Park. It was about them falling in love and all of the hardships that came with it. It is perhaps one of the most realistic novels that I have read to date. I could seriously imagine the plot of this novel playing out in real life.

I was a bit put off at the beginning of the novel. It was very slow and very boring for the first third or so of the novel. It just didn’t grab my attention and hold it like I imagined that it would. It got better further into the book, but the first 100 pages or so were a struggle. There wasn’t much happening, and the characters, especially Eleanor during that part of the novel, got on my nerves quite a bit.

The characters were great, for the most part. Eleanor, as I said, was a bit annoying at the beginning. However, she got better as the novel progressed. Eleanor was a very snarky, very sarcastic girl. She wasn’t anywhere near perfect. She had frizzy red hair, was overweight, and had family issues. Yet, she was strong and pushed through it. Sure, she had some moments where she was scared, but she didn’t let anything really get to her for the most part, and that was very admirable.

“I miss you, Eleanor. I want to be with you all the time. You’re the smartest girl I’ve ever met, and the funniest, and everything you do surprises me. And I wish I could say that those are the reasons I like you, because that would make me sound like a really evolved human being …‘But I think it’s got as much to do with your hair being red and your hands being soft … and the fact that you smell like homemade birthday cake”

Park wasn’t perfect either. Although I didn’t absolutely fall in love with his character, he was adorable to say the least. Park is half Asian, short, and has trouble fitting in. He has a love for comics and music. He was pretty timid, at first, but we saw the protective side of him come out on more than one occasion. I think that he really got Eleanor once he let her in, and vice-versa. They were definitely a mix-matched pair, but it worked for them. They had that beautiful and innocent love that you can’t help but envy. They were adorable to read, with them figuring out things for the first time. Sigh. I wish.

Now the one thing that I absolutely despised about this novel was the ending. I’m sorry, but it reminded me a bit too much of Requiem. That abrupt cut off at the end where you turn the page thinking there’s going to be another couple of pages and there’s not? Worst feeling. I feel like the ending definitely could have been better and more reader friendly.

Eleanor and Park was a one-of-a-kind novel. Although it had a few faults, it was definitely enjoyable towards the end. With a writing style this unique, I can’t wait to see what else Rowell comes up with in the near future.

4 Stars

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2 Responses to “Review: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell”


    I’M SO GLAD YOU LOVED IT! BUt agreed–the ending is rather like Requiem but unlike Requiem, I actually liked it! :D

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