Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell | Review

Okay, so here’s a book i’ve been meaning to read for years but for whatever reason i never did. Lately though, it seems like i’m trying to catch up with some old stuff on my Goodreads TBR to start mowing it down a little.

I was both excited and hesitant to pick this book up. There’s a lot of hype for it and overall, it seems to be well loved, but i’ve also heard the cons to it and those cons kinda made me iffy because i was afraid i was going to walk into a cheap cringy romance and badly written characters.

oh, also, i’d never read a book by Rainbow Rowell before. this is my first.

Verdict? 3.5 stars.

I actually genuinely enjoyed this. It was fluffy and adorable and i loved Park’s parents, especially his mother. (i think family was a great force in this book) His mother always made me smile and i could picture her perfectly in my head along with her accent and I really really wish they had talked about her past a little more because it really left me curious.

I didn’t feel while reading it that it was JUST about Eleanor & Park, but their families as well and the differences between them and how they interact with others and each other. It’s actually quite an unassuming book and the entire time i was reading through all the stolen moments, i was struck by how bittersweet some of the interactions were. Eleanor was pessimistic and snarky and held a lot of self-doubt along with low self-esteem but she was also fairly self aware.

I loved that the two main characters felt real, at least to me, because i once knew people like them. i knew a girl who’d hold her head up high as people called her names in school, who was quiet and tried her damnest to make herself invisible in classes and at the end of the day, go to the washrooms and break down. I knew a guy who people made fun of because he was too ‘effeminate’ looking and wore tight clothing but was by all means straight and was off and on with a girl a grade lower. He never let it show that the bullying bothered him either.

And reading this book made me remember people like that back in high school, people who were different, people who you never failed to see alone, people who hid on window sills, or the library or the darkest corners of the school where not many people walked through. And it kind of just kicked me in the gut. Not gonna lie.

I think overall the book was well written, I both smiled and laughed a little at some parts and I really appreciated the fierceness of Park’s feeling in the face of Eleanor’s doubt and fears because she’s always waiting for the worst to happen. It was a little cheesy in some areas but by no means cheap or too cringe worthy. (at least for me, I tend to be a little picky with couples in books because sometimes some of the dialogue has me tossing a book in disgust.) But I really liked this book. I may even consider buying it at some point, but i’m still thinking about it.

(Slight vague-ish spoiler(s) below?)

I was worried about the ending of the book, but i felt it fitting after thinking about it for a few minutes when i finished it. Always rays of hope and i actually found myself wondering if many a postcards were used after that first one; one year later. I also hope that while it wasn’t spelled right out, Eleanor’s mother smartened up and that the ghostly air by the end of the book meant a new beginning for a good family.


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