Lisa Reviews: Rainbow Rowell's - "Eleanor and Park"

rowell_eleanor and parkEleanor & Park has been everywhere, and everyone seems to be raving about how AMAZING the story and its characters are! So as soon as I picked this one up, I knew I would push it to the top of my TBR pile, and start ASAP!

And I’m pretty happy that I did!

The cover looks awesome and the synopsis sounds fantastic! But I wouldn’t consider Eleanor & Park to be “starcrossed” lovers, well maybe. Eleanor never really left the house except for when she went to school, and she didn’t have a phone she could use. (Would you consider that “starcrossed”?)

It’s been almost a year since Eleanor was kicked out by her abusive and drunk step dad, Richie but Eleanor’s mom has finally talked him into letting Eleanor move back home. She now shares a room with her four younger siblings, and takes baths right after school, to avoid Richie and the lack of a bathroom door.

For the five siblings, it isn’t weird to wake up in the middle of night to shouting, crying or bedsprings. But when this happens, Eleanor and all the kids huddle together, doing their best to stay quiet.

While Eleanor is dealing with issues at home, Park’s life is a bit more normal. He spends his days going to school, reading comic books, listening to music and learning karate. But lately there’s been a bit of tension between Park and his dad. His dad always seems to be disappointed in him, and comparing him to his brother when it comes to karate and learning to drive a manual car.

Eleanor and Park meet on their way to school. They can’t even stand to look or talk to one another and are unaware of how  they will come to share much more than just a school bus bench…

I had such high expectations for this book BECAUSE of all the great things people were saying! I LOVED Eleanor & Park, but there were just a few small things that did bother me. But I’ll get into that in a little bit.

Eleanor was such a down to earth character, which I do appreciate, especially after reading books with super heroes, vampires or gods. She was an average girl, not an extremely pretty girl who turns every guys’ heads when she walks past them. She was REAL.

When Eleanor opened up to Park, I was so proud. It seemed throughout the story that no one has ever shown Eleanor true love, not romantic love, but family love; care. I would have never assumed that Eleanor had it in her when she’s never really witnessed “love”. I commend her for being so strong, after all the crap she’s been through with Richie, her mom and her real dad.

Park was also such a sweet character. He seemed to genuinely care so much for Eleanor and looked past  her struggles and issues. He accepted her in a way nobody in her entire life had. I loved Park for that! … I only wish there were more guys like Park out there!

Now for the small things that did bother me:

1. Eleanor and Beauty: I don’t think I can count how many times Eleanor has called herself ugly or fat. I understand that everyone has their own insecurities but how many times are you going to tell the guy that you like, and the only person that’s every truly cared for you, that you think you’re fat until he agrees with you?

2. Their Relationship: I though Eleanor and Park were imperfectly perfect for each other. I enjoyed reading about the two of them, their love and even their bumps in the road. But I felt that the beginning of their relationship seemed a little rushed.

Even with these small things, I really liked Eleanor & Park! The characters were fantastic, and the ending was…WOW! Rowell tore out my heart towards the end, but luckily put it back together in the last page or two! If you haven’t gotten the chance to pick this one, I recommend to do so… right now!

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