Review: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

eleanor-park-rainbow-rowell-coverTitle: Eleanor & Park
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Rating: 2/5

So I accidentally jumped on the Rainbow Rowell train. Sister bought the book and, of course, I also had to read it. Honestly, just judging from this book, I’m not entirely sure I’d like to stay on this train. All in all, Eleanor & Park was a nice read, at times quite hilarious, sort of lovable, but, in the end, I just couldn’t get over my annoyance at Eleanor. She just has this fancy ability of being such a… pain? Annoyance? Burden? Whiner? But better let’s move on to some explaining and reviewing. 🙂

First off, I read the book in English. No idea, whether it’s been translated in Latvian, but the reason I’m mentioning this is that Sister found it easy to read. And I think that is important for those, who aren’t English native speakers, but want to venture into reading in English. Sister had only a couple of words per page or chapter that were unknown, which is good. Therefore, language-wise, Eleanor & Park is not a bad choice for those who are just starting to read in English.

The great thing about Eleanor & Park is the humour. There are many hilarious moments. And others that are cute and kind of funny, mainly because of the cuteness, I’d say. I also like Park quite well. He seemed solid, he wasn’t perfect, but he also wasn’t annoying or weirdly stupid, like Eleanor.

Now, Eleanor, well. I kind of get why she sometimes was the way she was, but it also often annoyed me to no end. I mean, for one moment the book started to go real slow for me mainly because of Eleanor and her shit. All her insecurity was just unfathomable to me. It was especially annoying when she sometimes question almost everything Park said or did in regards to her. Like, seriously Eleanor? Seriously?

And then there’s also Eleanor’s family situation… Why doesn’t her mom leave? Why?

What else? For those concerned about diversity in books, this one has it. Park is part Korean and the two school friends of Eleanor are African-American (I assume, not that it’s entirely given there, but I’m trying to go the possibly most polite way). Although the friends seemed a bit stereotypical to me. Or maybe it was just me. Though the weirdest thing about them was DeNice’s name. How should it be pronounced. Half the time she was Denise for me, and then she was some weird rapper De Nice. So, which is it, really?

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A bit on the plot. The sort of mystery of who wrote shit on Eleanor’s school stuff wasn’t that great of a mystery for me half the book. I suspected who the culprit was, and I was right. Not that it really changes everything. Just a fact. The fact that Eleanor totally didn’t pay attention to it could be considered weird. Or maybe she just also knew/expected who’s the writer (I don’t remember whether her thoughts on this topic were revealed in the book).

As for the ending. It was meh for me. And even R. Rowell’s after-word with an explanation for the ending did nothing for me. But, I guess, the ending could have also been worse. Not entirely sure how, but it probably could have. Some probably like it, but it didn’t satisfy me, not really.

All in all, Eleanor & Park is an okay romance, with some teenage and family problems added in. So maybe teenagers would identify with the characters more. Overall I did enjoy the book, it was quite fun and very hilarious at times, and cutesy. But Eleanor, she really did bring down my enjoyment. As did the ending. But Eleanor was the greatest problem for me. For those reasons Eleanor & Park gets 2 nuts from me, since, for me, enjoyment means a lot.

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I guess I might have expected something more, something different. But that happens. And I can’t say that I regret reading Eleanor & Park, there were some great and enjoyable parts. I won’t say that it’s a must read or that I’d really recommend it, but give it a try if you feel like it. Hopefully, you’ll enjoy this book more than I did.

Did you enjoy Eleanor & Park? What did you think of that ending?

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5 thoughts on “Review: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

  1. Awesome review but I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy! I had hopes for all of Raingow Rowell’s books after reading Fangirl yet I haven’t even begun reading any of her other work yet and this review doesn’t really encourage me to either. It sounds like we have 1 unlikable MC and one who I would enjoy reading about but I usually can’t tolerate any annoying MC’s in my stories so I might give this one a miss.

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    • But the thing is – so many people love this book. Maybe it’s just me. But for me the book really was somewhat disappointing. Given all the love, I expected something more. But I would like to give a shot to Fangirl.

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