Eleanor and Park is Rainbow Rowell’s second novel, and, upon release, there was so much hype around it that it actually put me off reading the book. But, when I finally did decide to read it, I wished I had picked it up sooner. It was the first book I read by her, and it has become one of my all-time favourite books.
Eleanor and Park follows the lives of two sixteen year old teenagers. Eleanor is a social outcast, and, because of her appearance, she becomes a target for bullying. She is overweight, has wild red hair, is covered in freckles and has a peculiar fashion sense, whereas Park is a half Korean comic book lover who is quiet and has been able to keep himself under the radar of bullying. On Eleanor’s first day of school, on the school bus, Park is the only one who moves across his seat to let Eleanor sit down and from this point on, their lives change.
The book is written in dual point of view. It doesn’t repeat events, but tells them from a whole new angle, showing an insight to the characters emotions. I loved getting in both the main characters heads and seeing how the series of events affected them; this made the story more relatable.
No phones, iPods or laptops…just 80s music!
One of my favourite things about the book was that it was set in Omaha, 1986. There’s no iPhones, iPods or laptops. Don’t get me wrong, I’m addicted to technology; I would not be able to survive without my phone for a day, but I liked the fact there was no modern technology but mix tapes and landline calls. There was also a lot of 80s music references, which I couldn’t really appreciate as much as I wanted to, as I don’t know much about 80s music. If anyone wants to send me a playlist of 80s music so I can fill the missing 80s music knowledge in my brain, please feel free to do so!
Love, heartbreak, and the awkward teenage phase.
As well as being a romance novel of first love and heartbreak, the book is so much more than that. Rowell truly captures the awkward teenage phases and the difficulties in life. whether they are at school or at home. One of the underlying themes of the book is how we easily judge people because of their looks or clothing, and it tackles the issues of body image and how people view themselves.
If you need a book to read this summer make sure Eleanor and Park is the one! It’s a heart-warming tale with realistic characters, and will make you feel all the emotions!
“Eleanor was right. She never looked nice. She looked like art, and art wasn’t supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something.”
“Holding Eleanor’s hand was like holding a butterfly. Or a heartbeat. Like holding something complete, and completely alive.”