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Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor & Park (2012)

by Rainbow Rowell

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Showing 1-5 of 195 (next | show all)
I have conflicting feelings about Eleanor & Park. I know that various aspects of it really troubled some people, from the treatment of the characters of colour to the way it deals with Eleanor's fraught home life. I don't know enough about American culture and history to really comment on that, other than acknowledging that some people find it problematic, e.g. in the exoticisation of Park's looks and the stereotyping with his mother. I think everything Rowell does here is an honest attempt, though; I think there's a conscious effort to bring in more diverse characters, it's just that it brings in a lot of new problems with it.

Still, despite that, I actually really liked the book. I tend to enjoy Rainbow Rowell's style anyway, and in this book I enjoyed the way she portrayed a teenage relationship. It's dramatic life and death stuff, and while I don't think I ever behaved that way, people I know did. Just discovering hormones and making a big mess of themselves over it and each other. It's complicated in this case by Eleanor's relationship with her step-dad, and Park's discomfort about whether he's the kind of son his father would want. I think parental situations had a fair amount to do with the rather desperate coupling up I saw sometimes: if you've got someone to think about while whatever's going on at home kicks off, then it's a bit more bearable. Or you're less alone. Etc.

I think someone else said that to write for teenagers, you have to remember what it's like to be a teenager, and I think Rainbow Rowell evokes that pretty well here.

When it comes to dealing with the difficult themes around Eleanor's family, again, I think it's an honest attempt. She evokes the feeling of threat well when she's in Eleanor's POV; it comes through a lot less when she's writing from Park's point of view, though. In a way, that's realistic: we never know exactly what's going on behind someone else's eyes. But in this case... Park was so shocked when Eleanor spilled everything, and I'm just thinking, hey, there were plenty of warning signs, in neon.

All in all, though, I found Eleanor & Park a really easy read, and I liked Rainbow Rowell's attitude to it that she mentioned at the signing I went to -- she couldn't write some happy ever after for Eleanor and Park, because they're still kids. It's not the end of their story, it's the beginning. I really like that she didn't go for the easy end where everything's alright: she gave us hope, sure, but no more than that. ( )
  shanaqui | Jul 22, 2014 |
As this book had chapters alternating between the two main characters, the audiobook was read alternating between a male and female narrator. Eleanor is the oldest of five kids, all redheads, living with their mother and abusive stepfather. Violent arguments have made all of the kids nervous and shy. Park has a Korean mother, American father, and is the only Asian student in his school. The two of them were thrust together as a result of school bus politics. Freshmen sit up front and the cool kids lay claim to the rear of the bus. When Eleanor first climbs on the bus she shyly sits next to Park and this is her seat for the rest of the year. For days they did not speak to each other but slowly, gently, a relationship grew.

The narrations were also slow and gentle, perhaps a little too slow and gentle. Until the action picked up towards the end of the book, the readers kept their voices soft and depressed-sounding. I can't say I liked how the male narrator made Eleanor sound in his chapters.

The relationship between these two teens was touching, and gave them both a whole new outlook on life. This book is a great read for teens. ( )
  mamzel | Jul 22, 2014 |
Loved this book!! I loved the story of Eleanor and Park!! There love is not without its complications and is not perfect... it is unforgettable thought. It brought back so many memories of my high school years. I did not want it to end!! ( )
  TeaGirl43 | Jul 14, 2014 |
I liked it a lot. To be honest I didn’t think I would because I’m so not interested in puppy love stories like what the sleeve led me to believe. The summary is such a huge understatement in the power of the story. It left me speechless every time one of my coworkers asked me what it was about. I couldn’t even recite what the official summary was because the story I read wasn’t any where near that bland.

Eleanor & Park follows these two high school kids as they learn about love, that’s about as far as the accuracy of the summary goes. Eleanor is a cute chubby red headed girl who appears to like to wear men’s clothing. She has a hectic life, living with her mom and her abusive stepfather who bullies her brothers and sister into hating her and her only escape comes from a cute kid named Park Sheridan. Park is a Korean-American kid with parents that met way back in Korea and fell in love there. He looks nothing like his all american vet dad and only receives his praise for continuing with tai kwon do and eventually using it on some d-bag bully sometime in the novel (hope that’s not too spoilery). His mom owns a beauty salon in his house and loves the fact that her son is the way he is. To sum it all up, Park’s parents are the perfect example of what a couple should be like.

Eleanor and Park are somewhere in between that. Through their mutual love of music and comic books they find a bond with each other that extends even more than the typical puppy love fest that I don’t even like half the time. They have their ups and downs but in the end they have their own crazy messed up way of staying together and keeping that bond strong.

To be honest I hated Eleanor which is funny because everything I hated about her was something that Park ended up saying he loved and I loved Park for the exact reasons that Eleanor loved him. I guess the problem was that I didn’t understand her character until the very end……*must….refrain from talking….about….the ending….or I might dock….another star…*

This was a narrative story that left me satisfied until the end. ( )
1 vote Jessika.C | Jul 10, 2014 |
I was not crazy about this book. The story is touching, and the author's writing is very fluid. However, I did not really feel connected to the story. This is not a book I would read a second time. ( )
  nfoto | Jul 9, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 195 (next | show all)
I have never seen anything quite like “Eleanor & Park.” Rainbow Rowell’s first novel for young adults is a beautiful, haunting love story — but I have seen those. It’s set in 1986, and God knows I’ve seen that. There’s bullying, sibling rivalry, salvation through music and comics, a monstrous stepparent — and I know, we’ve seen all this stuff. But you’ve never seen “Eleanor & Park.” Its observational precision and richness make for very special reading.
added by melmore | editNew York Times, John Green (Mar 8, 2013)

» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Rainbow Rowellprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gorovoy, AnnaDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Grlic, OlgaCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Russell, HarrietCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Forest, Jade, Haven, and Jerry - and everyone else in the back of the truck
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He'd stopped trying to bring her back.
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"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"--

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