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review 2018-06-29 16:54
Eleanor & Park - Rainbow Rowell

For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

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.

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review 2018-04-28 00:42
The Last Blog Post
Eleanor & Park - Rainbow Rowell

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.

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review 2018-03-31 02:00
Eleanor & Park
Eleanor & Park - Rainbow Rowell,Sunil Malhotra,Rebecca Lowman

 

 

Here is one of the blurbs on the back of the hardcover edition:

 

"Rowell keeps things surprising, and the solution maintains the novel's delicate balance of light and dark."  --Publisher's Weekly (starred review)

 

As I was getting close to the end (switching from audio to hardcover for the last little bit [Chapters 51-58]), I was getting ever more anxious that there simply weren't enough pages to achieve a "solution" as alluded to in the blurb.  Ultimately, I kind of see what the PW reviewer meant, but I was left wishing for more.

 

Backing up from my reaction to the end--Park and Eleanor's relationship is endearing.  Misfit love in 1986 in Omaha, Nebraska.  In high school.  Park had a mother who is Korean and a father who looks like Tom Selleck.  Eleanor has a doormat mother, four younger siblings and, a horrible, vicious stepfather, Richie.

 

Some readers might not be into the musical name-dropping (I've seen reviewers who complain about this kind of thing in books like The Time-Traveler's Wife.)  I enjoyed the musical references (I'm three years older than these characters who were 16 in 1986).  I even paused the audiobook to listen to "Love Will Tear Us Apart" (Joy Division).

 

Eleanor's home situation is so awful, I could only hate her mother for allowing it to happen. The five kids, including an actual baby ("Little" Richie) cower in one bedroom to stay out of Richie's drunken, raging way, and Mom just walks around on eggshells and tries to get the kids to not set off her horrid husband.  The whole thing almost made me want to downgrade my rating, but bad home situations happen in real life, too.  

 

So, this book has been on my want-to-read list for a long time.  I'm glad I finally listened to/read it.  After having signed up for at least three Giveaways for it on Goodreads....

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review 2017-02-28 02:55
Just a quckie
Eleanor & Park - Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor & Park - Rainbow Rowell 

 

Just a quick review to say that I really enjoyed this one.  I was sad to know what kind of life Eleanor put up with, but I'm hopeful enough to think that the end was just a new beginning...sappy I know. But, I think I have to believe that.

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review 2016-12-25 13:43
80's Teenage Romance of Unexpected Match
Eleanor & Park - Rainbow Rowell

Reading Eleanor & Park really brings back the memories of my youth of young love. The dialogue, the setting, the relationship woes, the insecurities and dreams. Young love was some thing that we forever hope its... forever. Every thing that is captured in Eleanor & Park is almost real.

 

Meet Eleanor - starting over in a new place when her mother remarried and already there are problems involved - her stepdad and bullies. Enter Park - a half Asian boy who wants to be left alone. These two unlikely have nothing in common. It was never love at first sight. It was a choice made by Parl that forever bring them together and in the end, some thing happened between them. Some thing unexpected and wonderful. But not every thing do last...

 

This is my first Rainbow Rowell novel that I heard so much about and was one of the reasons I bought it last year and finally read it. How do I feel about it? Like I said in the first paragraph - it really does bring back memories of young love. Rowell captures realism of teenagers through dialogue of male and female thinking and the life as one. I love how the interaction was well executed. What was good is how the writing of two perceptions was written so that we can understand Eleanor and Park's thoughts about each other. The reassuring, the common unspoken love the two exchange and how Park would do any thing for Eleanor if she is in trouble and the worries he has for her. That's just how it is when it comes to teenage love and that is real.

 

Some of the elements involve is AMWF relationships in an young adult book is explored here. I am quite surprise as to how the most rare relationships even today's generation is found and I find that is rare even in the 1980s (even though now it has increase but rarely over the years). The characters of both Eleanor and Park is taken into consideration of recognition that is surreal but workable. It is pretty unique for a young adult book.

 

There is another thing that I love about Eleanor & Park - that Rainbow Rowell is a geek 80s. Yes, there is lots of other good memories of cassettes, songs of the 80s, the TV Shows like Mike Hammer, the comics like Watchmen and more that really adds value of how 1986 is like then. I find myself loving a lot and to know that it is well exposed to newer readers of how cool the 80s is then.

 

Although some parts of the book are not explored (like other characters involved that feel rather thin and given a paragraph description background), there is a lot of assumptions that needed made as a reader like me need to assume. Pretty much every thing is right and guessed too. And the ending... yes, it leaves to anyone's interpretation (but I am pretty sure what interpretation for anyone who reads it). Yes - that last line is ambiguous. It does work well for this book. The last few chapters do feel a little rushed but I believe if any longer, it would drag it longer and became an unpleasant read.

 

Eleanor & Park really is a good book but rather, it appeals more towards teenagers that readers like me. I do appreciate it since it does show how true life is like as teenagers in love. As for me, its the mindset I need to set to understand how good this book is, but its just good in an appreciative sense. I doubt I will be ready to read any other Rainbow Rowell books just yet unless some thing caught my attention comes along from her. So until then, Eleanor & Park is my only stop for now.

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