Eleanor and Park Review

Eleanor and ParkI’ve been out of the reading loop for a few months now. It was like, at one point there were all these books that I wanted to read, and a I read them. Then, suddenly, there was nothing that really grabbed my attention.

So, when goodreads and the Google Play Book Store kept mentioning this Eleanor and Park (by Rainbow Rowell) book I thought, “Hey, this looks like it could be awesome.” John Green (who I love as a writer) had a comment on the book or in the comments somewhere that said something along the lines of how you’d remember what it was like it fall in love for the first time and what it was like to fall in love with a book again.

Here’s what goodreads has to say about it:

Set over the course of one school year in 1986, ELEANOR AND PARK is the story of two star-crossed misfits – smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love – and just how hard it pulled you under.

Maybe my expectations were too high. I mean, I was just expecting it to be something like Looking for Alaska or Anna and the French Kiss.

Not going to lie. I was a bit disappointed. There wasn’t really anything that really made this book stand out for me. The prose was good. The dialogue was fine. Even the plot was mediocre.

I will say this, I do think that the book did a good job hitting on some real-life problems. Park comes from a “perfect family” but he and his Dad still clash and don’t understand one another. I think that  for lots of people, that can be something that readers (and teens) can really relate to. Also, Eleanor doesn’t have an ideal home-life and is bullied fairly relentlessly at school. I think that Rainbow Rowell covers these subjects in a very organic and real way. I like that these issues are in the book and influence the characters, but it’s not a book about bullying, or family-issues, it’s a book about two teenagers who happen to have these problems.

Granted, that was about as much of the book that I really liked.

I do know people who have called it “perfection.” I’m just not one of them.

Also, I mean, it’s cool that it was set in 80’s, but on some level I just found that distracting. When writing I believe that every decision needs a purpose. I’m sure the author knows the purpose of setting the novel in the 80’s, but I sure as hell don’t. To me, it felt like it was set there just for the hell of it. It didn’t really influence the plot or even the characters that much.

I will say this though, don’t judge this book just by what I have to say about it. Like I said, others have loved it. Just not me.

Let me know what you think.

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