Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

 Title: Eleanor and Park

 Author: Rainbow Rowell

 Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

 Date Published: February 26, 2013

Genre: Contemporary

Pages: 336


     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.


     This is a book that I'm actually terrified to dislike. Everyone and their grandmother has read, and loved, this book. It has been wildly loved and acclaimed by everyone who has read it, and many people love Rainbow Rowell. Now, let me start by saying that I have read Fangirl and I LOVED it! My co-blogger, Ashley, didn't love it as much, but I truly loved it and look forward to reading Attachments and Landline. So I really do like Rainbow Rowell's writing style, and I like her- she seems like a really fun person! All of that being said, I feel like this is that one book of hers that I would like to forget exists. Ya know how we all love Star Wars, but just pretend Jar Jar Binks doesn't exist? Yeah, I'm Jar Jar Binks-ing this book.
     This is a character-driven book. To have a character-driven book be successful, you have to like the characters. And I didn't. I pitied Eleanor and her incredibly difficult situation. I am not going to sit here and claim that Eleanor came from a perfect life, and that her attitude is despicable. Just no. But  what I am going to say is that I feel like she could've used a major attitude adjustment. Hear me out! I feel like if we had walked through an attitude adjustment, I would've liked Eleanor more. I felt bad for her, sure, and I even pitied her. But that didn't make me like her. If she had changed, and if we could've seen that change, I feel like I would've connected more with her, and would've enjoyed her character more.
       That was Eleanor, but Park had his issues too. I actually kind of liked Park, but I feel like his character was set up for something that we never get to see fully developed. When Park starts, um, embracing the more feminine side of the world, his father gets angry, and Park claims that this is who he is and that his father just needs to accept it. Now, in this place, I feel like Rowell set us up for two things. 1: A perfect look at an identity crisis, and watching Park struggle with what gender really means. He doesn't necessarily have to struggle with what his gender is, but he could struggle with gender as a whole. 2: Is what ended up happening- push the whole set up aside for romance to further the cuteness of  this story. I understand that this story isn't supposed to be about gender, but I feel like Park's character could've perfectly segued us into some important discussions.
     Besides that, I got bored with the story pretty quickly. Sneaking around is fun and all, and the stakes are particularly high with Eleanor's situation, but it's cliched. Really cliched. Somehow, this book enveloped a lot of cliches without seeming like a cliche book, and for that, I have to give Rowell major props. Another problem, instalove. Seriously, the entire book was built on some chance encounter on a bus. How cliched is that? BUT the fact that Park helped Eleanor was kind of sweet, and relationship-building.
     Incredibly long review short, I feel like Rainbow Rowell could've taken this book great places, but she didn't. Instead, we're left with some book that, while cute, just falls way flat of its true potential. Pardon me while I Jar Jar Binks this book into oblivion.



  1. Interesting review! It's nice to bloggers break the mold and write reviews that may not necessarily be in favor of popular books. I haven't read this book just yet, but I plan on checking it out in the future.

  2. Thank ya! please give this book a try, and let me know what you thought. Just because it wasn't my cup of tea doesn't mean that it isn't a good book with fantastic writing.