Sunday, 22 November 2015

Eleanor & Park Book Review

“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.”

Author: Rainbow Rowell

Genre: Young Adult Fiction

Rating: ★★★

The story follows Eleanor and Park (obviously) who are two misfits that meet on the bus and bond over music and comic books in the 1980s. Eleanor has big red hair, is a little chubby with a wild fashion sense and a tough family life. Park is an outsider but not enough so that he gets picked on - he's just an all around likeable guy. 

Eleanor and Park was such a pleasure to read. I loved the writing style and the fact that the narrative went back and forth between Eleanor and Park. It was interesting to see what they both felt about the same events as well as getting to know both of their living situations and family dynamics. I appreciated the fact it was set in the 1980s and the constant references to comics and music from that decade, that still manage to be relevant today. 

It is also a really easy book to read. I finished it in about two sittings and it would have only been one, but I needed sleep.

Spoilers Ahead - Stop reading now if you haven't read the book. 

1. I loved the element of multicultural characters. However, I felt like there was more room to highlight racism that was evident in the 1980s. Park mentioned his insecurities but we never saw any discrimination towards him. It could have been an interesting subplot of his character.

2. I loved Park as a character. I pictured him as a young Joseph Gordon-Levitt (think 10 Things I Hate About You). I also loved his family. His mum was really funny and the part when she gave Park a Christmas present to give to Eleanor and told him about her family in Korea was so sweet. I also loved how his dad really welcomed Eleanor into the family and was really understanding about her needing to leave at the end. 

3. I thought it felt a bit rushed towards the end and I would have liked to have known what happened to Eleanors mum and siblings. Their fate was unclear - at first I thought they have left Richie, but then again, he was an abusive drunk and anything really could have happened. It's a bit far fetched, but all we were told was that the toys disappear from the front yard and they weren't seen anymore.

4. I've read some reviews and almost all say they hated the way the book ended - the postcard with three words on it.  I genuinely liked the way it ended. I do think that Eleanor wrote 'I Love You' because she never actually tells Park she loves him. I read something that I completely agree with on a goodreads forum about how Eleanor finally told Park she loved him because she finally felt worthy and that it is a sign that she is healing, now that she is away from her horrible stepdad. Yet again, she could have just written 'stupid asian kid'.  

Have you read Eleanor and Park? What did you think of it?

Sarah x

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