[Book Review] Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Like The Fault in Our Stars, I feel like I’m a little late to the Eleanor and Park train. For some reason, I tend to shy away from hyped books, but at a book launch for Wayne Grady’s Emancipation Day, my pal Kate, told me to ignore the buzz and just read the book. She sent me her copy and I took her advice and read the book. Now I get it. I do. You all have been right.

Eleanor and Park1

When I search a book title on the world wide web, I like there to be a review associated with it, than I like to make my own opinion about whether or not I’d like to read the book. So that’s what I’m going to do today. This review is for the people that haven’t read the book yet, but it’s also for the people who have read the book and who I hope leave a comment so we can discuss why this book make readers, as Just a ‘Lil Lost puts it, “feel all the feelings”.

Eleanor-Park-UK-200x200First things first, Kate lent me her UK edition which has a very different cover than the one we’ve been seeing all over Canada and the United States. After reading a couple of chapters, I quickly discovered that the associated image on the UK edition doesn’t depict the characteristics of Eleanor at all! Eleanor is described as a chubby, red haired misfit who wears a combination of odds and ends to school each day. That’s why I’m so in love with the CDN edition, because it correctly depicts the way that I visualized both Eleanor and Park. Her quirky look has her fellow classmates snickering on the bus to school each day, but coming from a broken home with a number of younger siblings, Eleanor ignores the whispers and enjoys the seven hours she gets to spend outside of their cramped home. On the other hand, Park comes from a suburban home where luxuries like comic books and music are plentiful. By process of elimination, they’re forced to sit together on the bus. At first they ignore each other, but Park can see out of the corner of his eyes that Eleanor often reads along as he devours comic books and so without saying a word, he lends a comic book to Eleanor.

In these wordless exchanges the too become silent friends. Then one day the ice is broken and the reader travels along with a story of first love. You never forget your first love and any of you that have experienced that feeling of “what ifs” and butterflies, knows that it’s a love like no other. When the two quickly discover that their upbringing and futures are two very different roads, they’re forced to overcome leaps and bounds that most people (hopefully) will never have to experience.

Filled with very adult situations, both Eleanor and Park realize that their love is on a different level than their peers. They also learn that although handling things independently works sometimes, asking for help can make things so much easier. Yes, it’s categorized in the YA genre, but it reads well for adults too, because it takes you back to a nostalgic time of discovering what the word “love” really means. A wonderful book that really should be read by all!

Also, be sure to check out FanGirl, the upcoming book from Rainbow Rowell. Many of my friends are reading it and are saying that it’s fabulous!

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2 thoughts on “[Book Review] Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

  1. Elvina Barclay says:

    I picked this book up from the library, mainly because of the brief description on the TPL site, and of course the cover. I totally judge books by the cover. I was hooked from the start and read it straight through. It’s a great book and I’ve already bought a copy to get signed when Rainbow comes to Yorkdale Indigo next month. I remember sitting on a school bus every going to school, being the weird kid with the clothes my mom made or wearing a snowmobile suit to school in grade 9 over a dress (hey it was damned cold up north and I hadn’t figured out that style was more important than freezing to death). Highly recommended to both YA fans and adults.

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