Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell : A review

Eleanor & ParkEleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
My rating: 2 of 5 stars ⭐ ⭐
View all my reviews

I don’t remember how I stumbled upon this book, but I remember having huge expectations for it.

The first thing that comes to mind about this book is the way the tone was fluctuating between adorable and fugly/creepy. Like a sinusoidal wave.


Eleanor and Park are pretty much normal teens who slowly discover each other and fall in love. There is a mystery about Eleanor’s back story in the beginning which was nice. To read about a Korean guy in such a setting was interesting. Park looks like his life might be perfect but there are some major flaws too. These flaws were touched upon elegantly. The initial stages of getting to know one another, the little cutsie exchanges of phone numbers and comic books were the good parts.

The narrative was good mostly. The alternating POV’s of our lead pair was both delighting and engaging. Short chapters and quick progress in the plot was a good move. It was wholly made of simple language and there wasn’t any complexity throughout.

Having said that, I find Rainbow Rowell’s sense of humor horrible. I did not laugh for any puns in the story. Since the book was set in the 80’s one expects a slight change in the conversations and their approach. But excepting the references to yesteryear’s stars, there was nothing of that sweet awkwardness, which was idiosyncratic of the 80s.

Mid-story was nauseatingly cheesy because both of them were talking about how they adore each other in a hundred possible ways. When I mentioned creepy, fugly, earlier I meant something like this:

“That’s how good it felt. She was like one of those dogs who’ve tasted human blood and can’t stop biting. A walrus who’s tasted human blood”.

In what world is that a love quote???!!! (FYI she is referring to how she feels about him after their make-out session)

In all fairness, let me quote a few adorable ones :

eleanor & parkNo, I love your name. I don’t want to cheat
myself out of a single syllable.’

‘..hot and beautiful
in her heart – turned to gobbledygook in her

‘I should have had a family like this, Eleanor
thought. And it only sometimes made her feel
like a traitor to think so.’

I think that a good love story can have tragedy and suffering but the levels that this book took it to, was simply revolting. I honestly will not be able to recall this book a few years down the lane. Give it a read if you are into cheesy romance. I suggest you stay away because you are not really missing anything extraordinary here.

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