Book Review - Eleanor and Park

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Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

I have heard many people rave about this book, but I have also heard people say it wasn’t that good. I think I fall somewhere in the middle. I started reading this book with very high hopes as many people in my creative writing class had said how much they loved this book and by the time I finished it I couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed. I think I was expecting more.

The plot follows the story of two young lovers, Eleanor and Park (obviously) and them forming a relationship with each other. I much preferred Park over Eleanor, I found him quite cool and the type of guy I could see myself being friends with. But I never really warmed to Eleanor. I found her a bit whiny and Victim-y. I know she had a terrible home life and was in an awful situation, and I really felt sorry for her, but I didn’t like the way she treated Park. Creating problems out of something so small was not something I understood about her, nor did I find it that believable. It was irritating.

I really did enjoy Rainbow Rowell’s writing and the book is filled with gorgeous little lines, but the one thing I couldn’t understand was why the book was split into both Eleanor and Park’s point of view, but was in third person. Maybe it’s just me who didn’t really like that and didn’t understand why it was done, I don’t know, but it just didn’t make that much sense to me.

The ending of this book is also subject to much debate over whether reader’s like it or not. Personally, I actually really liked the open ending and like Rowell’s justification of why she did it. Of course, a writer never has to justify why they ended their own book, but it certainly helped me understand why it was done and it was a nice touch.

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