Tough question, as the book is so brilliant - after listening, I bought the print version, because I needed to own both.
The amazing attention to the details of Eleanor's & Park's interior lives.
Yes for Lowman, and this was stellar on her part - she was fully immersed in the character. Malhotra was new for me so I can't compare.
About a billion of them.
I push this book on everyone, and they're all glad I do.
I don't think anyone should read it. The female character was so incredibly self-loathing that is was a disgrace. And her mom was pathetic. Truly the worst female roles I've seen in a novel that is primarily read by teenaged girls
Male narrator was ok, female narrator was as monotone as the crap she was reading.
Pretty much all the scenes where Eleanor hates herself. But then there wouldn't be anything left. Oh! That's a good thing!
Yes I would. Although I think this is a book for a younger listener then I. I enjoyed the story.
I didn't like the ending.
I liked Parks mother. Funny little lady with a heavy Korean accent.
I thought it was easy listening for a Rainey day.
I'm an audiobook addict and blog about books at The Reading Date. My favorite genres are YA, New Adult, Fiction & Memoirs.
Rainbow Rowell’s latest book Eleanor & Park is set in Omaha, Nebraska in 1986. It is the story of an all-consuming first love formed from a shared comic book and alternative music connection.
The book is primarily about the relationship between Eleanor & Park, two teens that feel like outsiders. Eleanor is the new girl who wears all the wrong clothes, and stands out with her large frame and red hair. She’s bullied and called Big Red. Park is half-Korean and isn’t new in town but feels isolated because of his musical taste. In 1986 there was a divide between the Top40 and alternative scenes and Park’s tastes were ahead of the curve in Omaha. The pair end up next to each other on the school bus and slowly form a connection over music and comic books that develops over time.
The 80s decade is an interesting YA book setting for many reasons, but stands out for the lack of technology & the explosion of post-punk. There were no cell phones for Eleanor and Park to text (not that Eleanor could even afford a cell phone) and music was not that accessible either. It was the time of mix tapes, and I could definitely relate to Eleanor falling in love with the music mixes Park made her, listening to the same songs over and over. And it’s so satisfying for Park to have someone to share his interests with, finally.
It’s nice for Eleanor to have Park as this bright spot in her life because her family life is rough. She lives with her mom and step-dad and shares a room with her four younger siblings. Her step-dad is abusive and an alcoholic and her home life is all-around difficult. Park has some drama with his dad but for the most part has it pretty great compared to Eleanor.
Even though the story is a heavy read due to Eleanor’s family drama, there are plenty of feel-good moments that made me smile. Rowell captures that first love feeling, and made me root for Eleanor and Park. The book has short chapters and Rowell writes in third-person, with alternating Eleanor and Park perspectives. Rowell makes you feel like you’re back in the 80s with many pop culture references.
Rebecca Lowman and Sunil Malhotra read the audiobook, and this is my first experience with their narration. I thought they both did a great job, and sounded age-appropriate. I didn’t feel any disconnect between the characters as written vs. how they sounded. Each narrator uses different voices for different genders, ages, and accents, and gets the tone of the book right. I think the audiobook format made it easier to connect with both Eleanor & Park. It’s a book that I didn’t want to stop listening to, and will probably listen to again. One thing that would have been cool is if the audiobook contained music snippets since music is such a running theme.
Very good story and writing, although I agree with some reviewers that the end was disappointing. The end is not really the point with a book like this, though.
Both narrators are a true joy. I hope they find lots of work based on their amazing work on Eleanor & Park.
I read and listen to books. I drink tea. I sleep like a cat and wished I lived in Hawaii.
I want to write this review while the book is still fresh in my mind. I struggled with this book. I thought the first half was kind of boring and was tempted to abandon it, but my curiosity got the best of me. I wanted to know what the big deal is about this book, why everyone is swooning over it. Now that I have finished, I am still not quite sure. Eleanor and Park are both described as misfits in the book description, but Park barely is. He's a somewhat cool kid that comes from a good family environment. His being half Korean is the only thing that sets him apart from his peers. Eleanor is a misfit for sure, in more ways than one. I felt bad for the poor girl. Anyone in that type of home situation gets sympathy from me. With that said, she wasn't the most likable person. The book dragged for a while and I didn't feel like there was much character development for Eleanor or Park until the second half began. Then the story picked up and things started happening. At this point, the book went from a 3 star to a 4 star. Eleanor and Park have a sweet romance full of lovey-doveyness and moodiness. At times, it made me want to gag, but I have to remember that I am not the target audience here. My teenage years are way behind me. Then the ending happened and the book went south for me. What was up with that? I felt like Rowell described everything that was happening and how everyone felt in detail until the last couple of chapters of the book where many things were left unsaid and it seemed a bit incomplete. This is why I cannot give the book 4 stars. If the ending were better, I could have overlooked the slow first half. I liked the way the book constantly alternated between Eleanor and Park point of view's. I liked getting both perspectives on what was going on in their relationship and lives. Rowell did a good job of creating believable teenagers. I think that she kind of nailed down how teenagers act and how they think. This book is about first loves and heartbreak, surviving a bad home life and trying to keep your head above water in those difficult teenage years. The narration was pretty good, but Malhotra's (Park's) narration was awful when it came to doing Eleanor's voice. It was so quiet and mousey and very different than the way Lowman portrayed Eleanor. My very favorite part of the book was Park's mom. She was awesome. She was charming and full of personality. Malhotra's narration of Park's mom was spot on. I could listen to a whole book just about her and I wish she was my next door neighbor.
If you are a person who seeks out YA books, then you should go for it. Listen to it or read it and you probably won't be disappointed. If you generally don't enjoy YA books, then I say proceed with caution.
I have over 800 books in my library, and this is one of my all time favorites. It really is a nearly perfect little book. As soon as I was done listening my daughter started from the beginning, and I was happy to hear it again immediately -- that says a lot.
The story takes you on a journey of their relationship with a precision of words and emotions that is achingly beautiful. I have seldom cared so much about characters, or felt like every word counted. Honestly I keep thinking about "To Kill A Mockingbird" for a similar quality of every word being in place. This may be considered a "teen book" but that is only in the sense that it is a human book, and we were all teens once. My heart still aches with tenderness for this book, and that is not idle praise.
Psychology doctoral student, making time to read (and now listen!) as much as possible.
Wow, I can understand why this book is popping up on all the "Best of 2013" lists! A beautiful story of first love. I listened to this as an audiobook on Audible and found myself listening very late into the night - I even dreamed about this story! The narration was fantastic. The writing was simple, yet poignant and you really want Eleanor & Park to work out, despite the improbability of high school romances and their specific circumstances. I think I especially liked it because both the guy's and the girl's perspective is given, making for a story that didn't fall into the cliches of typical high school novels. I highly recommend to anyone looking for a quick story that will draw you in and stick with you for a while.
What a great book. These smart books for teens are really a treat. I am definitely not a teen but thoroughly enjoyed this listen. The quirky imperfect characters just have a way of drawing you in. Her writing just feels very real and ordinary in a good way. And Rebecca' Lowman is really a fantastic narrator.
Absolutely. I loved the story, the characters, and the narrators. I am a big fan of Rebecca Lowman and she didn't disappoint here.
I can't really compare it to another book, but it certainly evokes memories of John Hughes teen movies! Lots of good humor, teen romance and angst.
The scene where Park's mom changes her mind about Eleanor and tells Park about her childhood in Korea. It was a great turning point for her relationship with him and the rest of the family.
I felt like I experienced every emotion right along with Eleanor and Park. Nothing better than teen romance!