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Book Review: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Hello Readers & Friends,

Today I'm doing a review on Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. Rowell has blown up on the Bookstagram scene recently and I was quite intrigued going into it - I had no clue what to expect, what type of genre, what type of writing style... no clue.

I gave it 3.5 stars. I read it very quickly (it's not a big book) and couldn't put it down. I just kept wanting to flip the page to find out what happened next, even though for the most part, nothing at all was happening. The prose was delicious. The romance was sweet as sherbert. It reminded me of being sixteen and young and dumb and in love and was just so enjoyable to read. I'll absolutely be reading her next books.
So why the 3.5? Well, read on...


*Spoiler Alerts*

What I loved most:
- The romance, of course. It was innocent and funny and real.

- The weird, underdog protagonists.

- Denice and Beebi. I wish we saw more of them, they were funny and sweet and the exact type of friend Eleanor needed.

- The boldness of the notes left for Eleanor. They were rancid, vile, disgusting and so off-kilt compared to the rest of the story. That was what made it so poignant.

- Park being half Korean. I've never read a book with a half-asian protagonist before. I'm half asian too, my mum is Japanese, and many of the things he dealt with really were relatable for me. I know some people have said it was at times racist, but it was set in the 80s and I have to say - these things still happen today. I'm glad she brought attention to it. Something in particular which struck a chord was when he tells Eleanor there are no good-looking asian people and it makes him feel ugly. This is something I had trouble with growing up,  and not being able to find Youtube tutorials for makeup that would work on eyes like mine. It brought a lovely depth to his character throughout the storyline, without making him 'the asian protagonist.' He was still 'Park the protagonist' - if that makes sense.

- The 80s setting and pop culture references. Very Ernest Cline.

What I didn't like:
- Cal. He was so boring and seemed to serve literally no purpose in the entire story.

- All the unresolved issues!!! What happened to the kids at the end? What happened to her mum? What were the three words? (I assumed ' I love you' but I know there are other options floating around on GoodReads?) Was Richie sexually abusing Eleanor, or just an asshole? What was the stuff in the house that night the police came? Why did a gun go off that night? What did Eleanor tell Park the night she decided to run away? What happens to Richie now Park's dad knows what's going on? Does he just carry on? Why is Maisie sitting on Richie's lap such a thing? Why does Richie write all that stuff on her notebooks?? I can't deal with all these unresolved storylines, and that is why I gave it 3.5 stars. I just need a bit more clarity, I like things largely spelled out for me by the end of a book and for me there was too many things I had to use my imagination for.

What did you think?
C x


  1. I totally agree. So many unanswered questions. And I think if we go through all these moments of despair for Eleanor, her siblings and her Mother I wanted to see maybe some resolve and some happiness for them.


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