ELEANOR & PARK is not the witty and light-hearted read that I had expected it to be. Instead, it has trouble deciding whether it wants to be a charming romance or darker exploration into messed-up families. Either one wouldve worked for me, but straddling the two made for what was ultimately an unsatisfying read for me.
Dont get me wrong: I enjoyed watching Park and Eleanors interactions unfold. Theyre an unexpected couple, and it was fun to watch them slowly begin to open up to one another. However, I wasnt convinced that Park and Eleanors relationship endured realistically in their world. I ended up being more interested in Park and Eleanors relationships with their families than their relationship with one another, and felt that one world seemed to always be intruding on the other, in terms of my understanding of each. After a while, I began to be more interested in reading about their interactions with their families, with the result that I felt confused about what the book wanted us to focus our attentions and interests on: the romance that initially sold the book, or the deeper but never thoroughly explored familial relationships that intrigued me more.
ELEANOR & PARK was, for me, a temporarily touching but ultimately forgettable love story where the heavy-handed emphasis on romance crushed the subjectively more interesting aspects of the characters lives, namely their relationships with their families.
Short and Sweet:
A sometimes sweet, sometimes painful story about first love between two 'real' and quirky characters. Eleanor and Park contains many complex elements, including the power of a person's inside qualities to transform their outside attractiveness. This is high school love in all of its awkwardness and anxiety.
Guys, I have to tell you that this one is outside of what I normally read. I don't often read realistic fiction, but I'm really glad I gave Eleanor & Park a chance. Both of these characters reminded me of how it truly is in high school. It is 'I wish I didn't have to take the bus home with those jerks' awful at times. It is surviving the mean kids and if you're lucky finding someone who is cool with you being 'you.'
Rainbow Rowell didn't write pretty characters here. He wrote human, flawed, naive, and sometimes startlingly wise characters. As far as family life, we see both ends of the spectrum here. Eleanor's is broken and full of anxiety and ugliness. Park, however, has a supportive home. This comes into play in the end of the book in a really beautifully heartbreaking way.
Just a really solid book. I hope they make this into a movie. Reminded me a a little of the quirky, heartfelt tone of the movie Juno. I really, really liked this one. :) (Originally published @ http://iheartyafiction.blogspot.com/)
Interesting nod to Romeo and Juliet.
Great, very believable characters. Even though it's about teenagers, I didn't feel "too old" to understand and appreciate their love story.
Eleanor & Park is the first novel I've read by Rainbow Rowell and made me a fan of hers for LIFE. I picked up this book at the local book seller, not sure if I'd like it, but intrigued. It is the story of an odd girl named Eleanor, a misfit, and her budding friendship with a boy named Park. But, of course, it is about a lot more. This is one of those books that I could not put down. It was sweet and funny, sad and touching. It took me back to my youth through Eleanor's painful experiences, through music and comic books. Rowell's writing was fresh and easy. I absolutely loved this novel. The only thing I wish had been different was that a sequel had been mentioned. This is a story I didn't want to end--I really want a follow-up with these characters! This is a book worth paying for (and those seem so rare these days) and one you'll want to keep. Definitely on my short list of favorites. Five stars.
An interesting love story from start to finish, with tension that built right up to the final sentence. The characters and their relationship felt more real to me than most love stories I have read.
The only thing that kept me from giving this book 5 stars is that the language was really simple. Otherwise, I loved it. The story is so genuine and heart wrenching. Even though I'm in my thirties, I was flooded with memories and feelings from when I was a teenager and had experiences like this. My favorite part of the book was the role that music played in Eleanor and Park's romance. That felt very real to me. The ending was a punch in the gut but it felt right.
I had a love hate relationship with this book. Probably because I expected different things. I got a teen/first love story with a hug amount of family drama. I wanted a sweet teen/first love story. I put this book down for an extended amount of time. I should have just finished it in one huge swoop. Oh well.
I almost decided to not read this book after the first chapter because of the strong language throughout, but it calmed down and wasn't in it as much as I continued to read it. I am glad I continued because I became hooked and wanted to learn more and more about Eleanor and Park.
The year is 1986. Park, an Irish-Korean-American is riding a school bus when a not so well dressed Danish-Scottish-American large girl named Eleanor needed a place to sit, and thus the relationship between them begins (extremely silently). I loved how much development was in this book!
The relationship between these two is really wonderful and genuine. I like how it brings back that "first love" experience to mind. The whole time I read this I felt sorry for Eleanor, who obviously wants no pity from anyone. She is real while shy. She has something worth smiling about when everything around her is falling apart.
Park is reserved and a bit of a Mama's boy who loves music and comics. He is sensitive and also tough at once.
My only problem about this entire story is when Park is said to have been wearing a Fugazi shirt. WRONG. Fugazi was known for not selling merch and had no shirts, especially in 1986/1987 which is when they had just began. Other than that, the history seemed to be a bit on par, though I am sure things could have slipped by me.
My only question now is: Who did that thing to Eleanor that happened in the gym locker room near the end of the story?
There are many thoughts that are running through my head but I am not a spoiler spiller (even though I like spoilers myself).
It is rare for me to close a book at the end of reading it and have a huge smile on my face because it was both sad yet happy in the end.
This book was not like I expected it to be. The very first page threw me for a loop because of the extensive cursing by the kids on the school bus. Luckily it toned down. After that this story was just odd. But I kinda liked it. Eleanor and Park are "weird" kids - the author's own description - who end up falling deeply and weirdly in love with each other. It really was a weird type of love. They were very strange and awkward with each other - so much so I felt sorry and awkward for them. But there was something about the story that I liked. I wanted to know what was going to happen next in their weirdness with each other. Unfortunately the ending left me feeling unresolved about their story and desperately needs a sequel.
YA novel. I thought this was going to be a light hearted trip down memory lane with glimpses into what it was like to be in high school, and the music, of 1986. Eleanor and Park are well written characters but while this is a story of first love, high school love, it is also dark at times since Eleanor comes from a very troubled family and a troubled history. Lots of abuse and poverty. And it was very sad that her mother could not stand up to the abuse of the stepfather. Eleanor ultimately escapes but has to separate from Park. The book ends on a bright last page with a postcard to Park from Eleanor. It was a good book but just not as light hearted as I expected it to be.
You will not be able to not think about your first true love as you read this book. The butterflies in the stomach, how long the days seem when you are apart, the awkwardness and self-doubt, it's all there. And true to life, the course of things sometimes just lead you in different directions, and though that may mean never seeing each other again, it doesn't mean that you will ever forget your first true love and the magical time you spent with each other.