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I hated this book. I usually really enjoy YA books. I'm not a huge fan of romance stuff, but I enjoyed The Fault in Our Stars and Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda so it's not like I'm completely heartless.
I'm not entirely sure what it was exactly that made me hate this book so much. Part of it is probably that growing up, I was the Eleanor who latched onto the first guy who was nice to her to escape my home life and called it love. I was the Eleanor who started insignificant fights with my boyfriend because I didn't really know what a healthy relationship looked like and was overly insecure, anxious, and jealous. It was all a coping mechanism. It wasn't healthy, it wasn't romantic, and it led to a series of unhealthy relationships. In the book, all of these unhealthy things add up to a deep romantic relationship between two children who don't know the first thing about being in an actual relationship. In real life, it adds up to pain, hurt, and a lot of unhealthy coping mechanisms you spend years unlearning.
In this novel, Eleanor is looking for an escape. She finds it in Park. Park is looking for someone to rescue so he can feel important. He finds it in Eleanor. I hate that the novel presents these kids dealing with huge issues (bullying, abuse, poverty) and seems to think that they can just love each other and make everything better. That's not how real life works.
As with many YA novels, rarely do the characters actually go to an adult about their problems. Eleanor can't even bring herself to ask an adult for a toothbrush. She just accepts it. I hate literature that presents this as normal or something kids should just deal with. They should go to adults with these issues. It puts way too much pressure on kids and teens to think that they have to deal with all of these problems alone. Go to an adult and seek help. No one should have to live that way. Looking back, I wish I had talked to an adult about my problems. And don't think some boy is going to save you. This is the same fairy tale BS we grew up on. Save yourself, don't wait around for some dumb prince.
The narration was okay, but I hated the characters. The only people I liked were side characters who hardly played any role in the actual story. Why couldn't she develop her friendship with DeNice and Beebi instead of putting all her BS onto Park? Don't just throw yourself in a relationship, girl, friendship is important too. This basically just teaches girls to put all of their energy into romantic relationships (growing up, that's what I did and it really hurt my female friendships, not a good idea). Having female friends to confide in is an important way to deal with stress.
I get the historical context of the novel, but the unaddressed racism seemed irresponsible in the text.
The whole book surrounds this ridiculous "romance" and there is nothing else. So if you don't like the "romance", you're going to be bored out of your mind.
I really did not enjoy this book. It put my in a horrible mood every time I listened to it. It's not even one of those books I'm glad I read to see what all the hype was about. It was something I just wanted to forget as soon as I was done reading it.
I have recently finished Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell. Unfortunately, I did not enjoy the book as much as I would have hoped. Contrary to this statement, a few passages did stand out to me. One of such passages is a line on page 299 depicting Park's emotional state: "Park stayed awake for another hour or so, fueled by Coke and hurt feelings." This sentence really helped me picture the loss Park was experiencing. Without giving away too many details, I will say that many of my predictions were correct for this book, and that the quote is from a part of the novel where my predictions were proven correct.
An interesting situation I have found myself in is that while blogging on this site, I have been able to find many books that I would love to read. While scrolling through my dashboard, I have come across multiple book reviews for interesting books. Although I did not expect to find many books on this site, I accept the experience wholeheartedly, and recommend it to anyone in search of a good book.
Throughout my research of Rainbow Rowell and reading of Eleanor and Park I have found some similarities between the author and her characters. Most of the similarities I found are small pieces of each person's character or a common interest. An example of the former is that both Rainbow and Eleanor have powerful emotions that are almost uncontrollable. Another similarity between Eleanor and Rainbow is their minor obsession of the Beatles. Although primarily alike to Eleanor, Rainbow Rowell shares a love of Star Wars with Park. Small parallels between Rainbow Rowell and her characters help connect the plot to reality.
The description of Eleanor in this quote is very powerful. In the book, Eleanor's home life is pretty awful, and she is forced to face each day with little energy. In this scene in the book, the true pain Eleanor is feeling is showing clearly through her facial expressions and body language.
Rainbow Rowell's unique style is also portrayed in this quote. Rowell often writes with subtle imagery, where the reader can easily picture the situation without the use of flowery language. It amazes me how easily Rowell can show the bleak tone through a single line.