Book: Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publish Date: February 26th, 2013
Date Started: January 29th, 2014
Date Finished: February 1st, 2014
Other Books Reviewed: Fangirl, Landline
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.
Ah, finally. The one book that kept escaping me. It took me forever to get a hold of this book. I’m glad I finally got a chance to read it. The waiting list for this book at the library was ridiculous. I just got really lucky because about 4 or 5 people never picked up the book from the reserve shelf. Well, their loss, right?
Eleanor and Park is about two teenagers (if you couldn’t deduce that from the title…) who first meet each other on the school bus. Eleanor comes from a troubled family, and thinks she has obnoxious red hair and is overweight. Park is a teenage boy who likes comic books and punk music. As time goes on, through comic books and sharing music, they start to fall for each other. However, they find that being together, even though it fits for them, doesn’t fit for everybody else. They must deal with forces from all around that try to force them apart.
This is the second Rainbow Rowell book that I have read this year. Or maybe I should say in a month. Its not like 2014 has been going on for very long. ANYWAYS.. I’m going to say this upfront, I liked Fangirl better than Eleanor and Park. Both were GREAT stories, don’t get me wrong. But I just found Fangirl to be more relatable to me. I think this is an age thing. Eleanor and Park had characters that were about 16 years old, barely getting their driver’s licenses. Fangirl had characters that were in their first year of college. Now, I’m already out of college, but I can remember the big transformation of college better than I can being 16.
I want to discuss the character of Eleanor. She isn’t your typical lead female character. She has big red bushy hair. Shes overweight. Her family is considered poor, and she doesn’t even have a washing machine or the luxury of shampoo. Her stepfather is abusive, and her real father doesn’t care about her. She faces bullying from the other girls at school. Every girl in the world has insecurities. I don’t care if you’re 5’9, skinny, blond, and can stand in heels for hours. Every girl has them. I think this is the reason why this book is so popular. Every girl can imagine themselves inside of Eleanor’s shoes. Even through her insecurities, Eleanor still takes the brave chance to open herself up to loving someone. Isn’t that what everyone searches for in a relationship? Someone who can accept them for who they are? My heart broke for Eleanor in more than one way. I think you just have to read the book in order to know what I mean. Her tale was a sad one, and something I don’t think that a teenage girl should every have to go through, but it happens much too often.
And Park. Oh loveable Park. He wasn’t your run of the mill boy with great abs, smelled like pine and soap (I’ll never understand why boys in books always smell like some sort of smokey wood and soap) and did everything for the girl of their dreams. I mean, Park did everything he could for Eleanor. He did everything a teenage boy could do for a girl. I see it way too many times in books where young men, who are barely boys themselves, find the need to be this overprotective man in a woman’s life. I think its fine, because its nice to have someone who will do anything in their power to protect you and make sure you are happy. But Park couldn’t do that much for Eleanor because it was out of his hands. He made sure she was happy and safe.
I think that a lot of people won’t like the ending. But I loved the ending. It wasn’t picture perfect, but its what needed to happen. There were some parts that were left to the imagination of what really happened, but I think the ending will leave most people satisfied. The ONLY gripe I had with this book was the fact that somethings were left open ended when it came to other characters in the book. I wanted to know what happened to those characters because I felt that they had a big impact on who Eleanor and Park were.
I’m sure that that if you haven’t read this book, then its on your to be read list. I’d make that happen sooner than later. Its a quick read and totally worth it.
P.S. I just have to say, Parks parents win Parents of the Year award.
P.S.S. GO BRONCOS. Happy Superbowl tomorrow! I live in the heart of Bronco’s Country and all I’ve seen in the last week is blue and orange.