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Monday, July 15, 2013

My Thoughts: Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Set over the course of one school year in 1986, ELEANOR AND PARK 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.

At this point I am sure that everyone and their cousin has read Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell (and loved it). If they haven't read it, they've heard of it and have it on their TBR. That was exactly what happened to me. There was so much hype surrounding this book that I just had to get my hands on it. Readers everywhere were saying this was the best book they had read this year, maybe even this decade and that Eleanor and Park brought out all kinds of feels. There were SO many fantastic things being said about this book and when I finally got around to reading it my expectations were high!

Unfortunately Eleanor and Park fell a little flat for me and I will be the first to tell you it was partly due to the amount of hype it received. I didn't hate the book, I just didn't love the story as much as everyone else and I'll do my best to tell you why.

I had a hard time believing the romance between Eleanor and Park. They never spoke to one another beyond sharing some reading material twice a day on the bus. Even than they didn't really talk. So I don't understand how they developed this amazingly strong connection when they weren't even friends. It was the whole lack of communication that made the whole relationship unbelievable.

I also didn't like how Eleanor treated Parker. I understand that Eleanor had some things to work through and that she didn't trust easily. But she knew when she was being unreasonable and when she was mistreating Parker. What also really got me was that she never apologized for it. throughout the majority of the novel I wasn't a huge fan of Eleanor. Her attitude towards a lot of things didn't sit right with me. In saying all of that. Eleanor had it rough. She was unhappy and her life was not at all stable. Her step father is abusive and her mother does not stick up for her. So while I understand where Eleanor is coming from, I still can't appreciate the way she related to others.

Park on the other hand was SO sweet. I really liked him. I can't say that he'll ever make it to my book boyfriend list, but I think we could be best friends. Park was laid back and didn't take life to seriously. He had a great family- his mother was hilarious and I thought she was great. Unlike Eleanor, Park had a fantastic relationship with his family- even his dad who Park often thought expected to much from him sometimes. Park was also able to deal with Eleanor's crazy attitude without much frustration.

I may be the only one who actually liked the end of Eleanor and Park. It was perfect. It was the most realistic ending that's for sure. It was absolutely what was best for Eleanor.

Overall, even though I didn't particularly like Eleanor and I didn't find the romance believable I still enjoyed the story (I just didn't love it).  Rainbow Rowell certainly knows how to write a compelling and complex story. I am a fan of her storytelling that's for sure.

~Happy Reading Everyone!


  1. Oh yes, I agree with a lot of your points. This was a beautifully written novel, but I just didn't love it like everyone else did. I liked it, but, I think because of the things you mentioned, I didn't see why everyone went bananas over it. I can say, though, that I've read both Attachments and Fangirl and I LOVEDDDDD both of them so much. I guess even with favourite authors you have books of theirs that aren't your absolute favourite, and that's this one for me.

  2. Hmmmm. I'm now super curious to read this one Sara! I was before of course because of all the hype, but yours is the first review that offered a slightly different opinion and I love that. Based on what you said about Eleanor, I feel like I might have a few frustrations with her as well, I already know I'm going to at least want her to woman up and apologize for the way she treats Parker. And I'm nervous about this ending, even I can appreciate the realism of it, I know I'm going to want an HEA! *sigh* I'm ridiculous:) Fantastic review!

  3. Hype seems to work against books just as equally as it works for books. I must officially be the last person who hasn't read this now, but I think I'm going to try to go into it with lowered expectations when I finally do read it. I dislike being disappointed. I am unsure what to think about the relationship between Eleanor and Park... that doesn't sound like the best, most amazing relationship other people are making it out to be. I guess I'll have to read it to find out for myself. Thanks for this review, Sara - loved reading your thoughts!

  4. You had me at 80's setting! That alone would be a reason for me to read this book as I am an 80's baby. I love that the characters are unconventional and the story manages to tug at your emotions. I'll have to try this author soon.


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