Monday, March 24, 2014

Book Review: Eleanor & Park

Monday, March 24, 2014
Title: Eleanor & Park
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Genre/s: Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Released Date: February 26, 2013
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Eleanor is the new girl in town, and with her chaotic family life, her mismatched clothes and unruly red hair, she couldn't stick out more if she tried.

Park is the boy at the back of the bus. Black T-shirts, headphones, head in a book - he thinks he's made himself invisible. But not to Eleanor... never to Eleanor.

Slowly, steadily, through late-night conversations and an ever-growing stack of mix tapes, Eleanor and Park fall for each other. They fall in love the way you do the first time, when you're young, and you feel as if you have nothing and everything to lose.
My Thoughts:

I read Eleanor & Park not because of its hype but because I really love the other two books that Rainbow Rowell wrote. Sadly, this is my least favorite of her works. I’m probably one of the few who will give a not-so positive review to this book, but before you throw tomatoes at me, please, hear me out first.

I think there are three reasons why this book didn’t work for me. First is because, I started this book anticipating a fluffy romance read and I didn't get it. Both, Attachments and Fangirl gave me an easy, light, feel-good kind of vibe and I’m addicted to it. And after devouring both books, I thought Eleanor & Park would be just like them but I was wrong. It was a heavy read with lots of family drama and bullying. It was so emotional that I needed to stop often, to take a breather. Other people probably like that kind of effect on them and sometimes I like it, too, but in this case, I just don’t.

Second reason is, I just can’t seem to relate to most of the pop culture references of 80s this book has. Okay, to their defense, it’s not their fault that I was born a decade late but I feel so out of place whenever they mention anything about Sex Pistols, the Smiths, Echo, the Bunnymen, Skinny Puppy and Joy Division. I knew a lot about X-Men, though but I’m totally clueless to Watchmen. Most of the time, I’m like “What the heck are they talking about?” and then contemplates whether I’m going to read on and ignore their conversation or research the name/song/movie/band first, so that I could get a clue on what was happening.

And lastly, their love story didn’t affect me as much as I expected. I read a lot of raving reviews about Eleanor and Park’s story of young love so it was inevitable for me not to expect anything. Honestly, I liked the first few chapters of this book especially Eleanor and Park’s school bus bonding – reading comics and talking about their favorite songs and bands. But unlike other people, I feel like their bond was more likely go to the friend-zone rather than romance. I also thought their relationship was sort-of middle-school-ish.

And have you ever experienced thinking that the relationship you had was true love but then looking back at it, after several years, you realize it was shallow and naive to think that it was love at all. Because that is what I think about Eleanor and Park’s love story, if my explanation even makes senses. It was an innocent, young love and it was also an immature one with lots of cheesiness and unsatisfactory ending.

Overall, Eleanor and Park didn’t live up to its hype, in my opinion but that doesn’t mean that I will stop being a Rainbow Rowell fan. In fact, I’m very excited for her upcoming adult book, Landline, which will be released this July. I guess, what I’m really trying to say is, Eleanor and Park just wasn’t for me.

My Rating
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