Eleanor & Park By–Rainbow Rowell

24# Book Review–★★★☆☆ 

Eleanor & Park

By-

Rainbow Rowell

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“If you can’t save your own life, is it even worth saving?” 

Wild, curly, unkempt red hair, a body that feels too big, a life that is falling apart bit by bit, just like her clothes—we have Eleanor.

“There’s only one of him.” 

Feeling of not belonging, an abundance of love for comic books and mix tapes, struggling with his racial and gender identity, and coerced by the narrow social system of high school—we have Park.

These two misfits meet in the most ordinary of ways (in the school bus) and end up experiencing an extra ordinary love.

“What are the chances you’d ever meet someone like that, he wondered. Someone you could love forever, someone who would forever love you back?”

 When they both are perfect for each other—but the timing isn’t.

“I don’t like you, Park. Sometimes I think I live for you”

When they both are falling together, but life is falling apart.

“Nothing before you counts,” he said. “And I can’t even imagine an after.” 

Eleanor & Park are the next door star crossed lovers who’re experiencing something too good to be true; something too good to last.

“I just can’t believe that life would give us to each other,’ he said, ‘and then take it back.’

‘I can,’ she said. ‘Life’s a bastard.” 

This book reminded me, on more than one occasions, of ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ by John Green. And if you know me, you know that I didn’t particularly like that book. So yeah, even with ‘Eleanor & Park’ my ratings are average.

Some of the parts were really likeable, full of quotes and feels-inducing, written effortlessly and beautifully. Like, I can really swoon over the quote-like dialogues, you know? But there were other parts, these really dull and plain parts that didn’t feel me anything, that made me want to skim over.

I’ll be honest, the story was realistic and believable and cute. But, I think it lacked intensity. Yes, there were a few parts, but I think even those could have been intense. As a teenager, I know how intense and high you feel when you have feelings for someone. This book was raw in terms of character and plot, and I liked that. I wish it had been a little more raw with feelings too. Saying ‘I love you’ a dozen times I great, but I wish there were scenes and actions that showed it more.

So I suppose that’s why it reminded me of The Fault in our Stars. Both of them are dotted with quotes, with realistic teen characters who are kinda bleak and see life for what it is. Both involve items/hobbies the couple bond over (books, and comics and music in the latter) I just didn’t feel it that intensely though. I craved a bit of…more. More angst, more pain, more intensity, more feelings.

The characters were nice enough. I liked the fact that Rainbow Rowell created a female protagonist who wasn’t perfect. Like we all read about the plain female protagonists who nobody notices but they in actuality are quite pretty and amazing. This though, this was the real thing. Eleanor was real. She didn’t have the body of a goddess hidden beneath layers of clothes, she didn’t look like an actress when you gave her a makeover and tamed her wild red hair. She just looked like a less messy version of herself, and that was really appreciable. Because hey, we all can’t be pretty and look like we’ve walked straight out of a movie scene. I liked that she wasn’t likeable. Heck, even I didn’t like her through most of the novel and couldn’t appreciate her personality, until later when I gained better isnight into her situation. So basically, it’s like judging a real person—you don’t like them until you realize they have their reasons.

Well we can sum her up through Park’s words basically,

“Eleanor was right. She never looked nice. She looked like art, and art wasn’t supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something.” 

Park was cute, I didn’t understand why he was so awkward and like why were they both just so hesitant to touch each other all the time, even after they got together, but it was cute.

The plot was kinda slow but it didn’t seem as if it lacked structure. I didn’t see major character development though. But by realistic standards, it makes sense.

I liked the racial diversity in the plot. Race was discussed lightly without tackling all the hard-core problems, to make the novel a light read.

All in all it was a decent one time read. I wasn’t completely blown away by it or anything and it did get kinda boring at times, but the writing is beautiful. Read it for the quotes haha

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