Not at this time
I cried to hear the struggles Eleanor faced having to live in the same house as her Mother's husband
I was 16 in 1986. I loved connecting to this. personal opinio... I crave neat and tidy endings.
This is a fantastic story. The dialogue is captivating and the narrators did an amazing job bringing the story to life. I've listened to books where I just wished the voice was different because if I was reading it to myself, it would sound different and deserved to sound different. Not so with this story.
But this is not a simple story. Eleanor lives in a dangerous household with an abusive step father, a powerless mother, a biological father who is also a loser and four younger siblings who are needy and just as trapped as Eleanor. Park, who other reviewers also call a misfit, is a product of a loving, stable home life one block away. He is a typical teenager wondering how he fits in. Yes he's part Asian, and his father flips out when he takes to wearing eyeliner, but his parents support and love him in all the right ways.
A touching, hold your breath story with enchanting prose and dialogue. I loved this audio book.
I cried A LOT!
After hearing from so many people who loved this book and after reading John Green’s awesome review of Eleanor & Park, I was really looking forward to reading this book.
First of all, I am quite pissed off with the ending. There was something that I was waiting, and Waiting, and WAITING for that I thought would happen sometime throughout the entire book, and then something happens in the very end that only “implies” that this particular thing “might have” happened. BUT I wanted Rainbow Rowell to SPELL IT OUT!!!! I want to know what those three friggin’ words were on that dang post card. I have my hopes about what they mean but, based on this particular character, her actions are not always what you really expect or hope for.
OK…I have a lot of emotions over this book. I think I was a little guarded through a lot of the book because I was constantly bracing myself for something awful to happen. And yes, something awful does happen and, even though I was trying to prepare myself for the worst, I didn’t think it would happen like that…so I was all thrown off. You want to know if I cried? Yep!!! I cried…a lot. But it was all worth it…and it would be even more worth it if Rainbow would actually tell us what’s on that post card. *sigh*
What I loved most about this book is how well the characters were put together. First, there are Park’s totally hilarious parents who seem to be making out all the time in every corner of the book. And then there are the all-around horrific parents of Eleanor who make you want to climb right into the book and give Eleanor a giant hug. There’s also the change in Park’s personality from the beginning of the book to the end, and then there’s Eleanor who seems like she doesn’t care what people think about her on the outside but, on the inside, she’s ALL messed up. And last there are those characters that ended up surprising me at the end of the book! Loved it!
This is a very quick read that takes you through a lot of emotions, but the best part is the very fun, intense romance that seems like it should be totally awkward, but is OH!!! SO PERFECT!
Oh, my – how do I begin? Well, first, let me say that I haven’t read a YA book in a while. I’m climbing the bookish equivalent of Mount Everest this year – aka making my way through the A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin and it is brutal. So maybe I went into this book not sure what to expect? I don’t know what happened. I had hopes of romance and swooning and first love a la Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins, but that’s not what I got. Instead I got this amazing boy whom I adored and a girl that annoyed me.
The description says that you’ll remember your own first love, and while it did have moments that reminded me of what it’s like to fall in love for the first time, I just couldn’t connect with Eleanor. Was she in a bad situation? Yes, but in times like those, you either let it make you or break and I feel like she let it break her. Again, yes, she’s 16 and “helpless” but all I’m saying is that 16 is old enough to call the police and not give a second thought to “Oh, is my mom going to be mad that I’m doing something that she as 40 something year old can’t?”
The saving grace for me in this book is Park – not only the character but his POV (the book is alternating POVs). Without Park, this book would have probably been a Did Not Finish. Park – my sweet, sweet boy – WHY do you even like Eleanor? She pushes you away, is an emotional rollercoaster and disaster, and has got to be the most self-deprecating character I’ve read in a while – she puts Edward Cullen from Twilight to shame.
And speaking of favorite characters, I’ve got to say my overall favorite character (and the one I think is most like me) was Park’s mom. She’s an Avon lady who loves makeup, nails, and hair – AND she always wants to make other people over.
I will say that I really enjoyed Rainbow Rowell’s writing style and I’m reading her next book, Fangirl, right now and absolutely loving it. So it’s just this particular book that didn’t do it for me. Also, the narrator for Eleanor on the audiobook was not the best so that probably played into things a bit.
I put this book on my Everyone Loved But Me shelf as there are no less than TWENTY 5 star reviews from my friends on GoodReads. Maybe I’m the misfit in this story.
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.
Such a beautiful, touching book. I laughed (a lot), I cried (a lot). Perfect for anyone born in or around 1986 as it takes place then and brings you back to the good old days of mixed cassettes and Morrissey. It reminds you of how simple and all-encompassing first love can be.
The narrator switched seamlessly between the two characters and brought nuances to his voice that helped me to really see and feel them. The writing, which lets the reader/listener see the reality of both character's experiences, has a strong conversational tone. Descriptions, words, and actions of the minor characters was inspired and brought clarity to the growth of Eleanor and Park.
Park - he was struggling to be true to himself in a time of life that can be daunting for many teens. Having had a teenage son, his voice was authentic.
When Eleanor hides in the RV and because of being disregarded by almost everyone in her life, she expects/fears that Park will do the same.
A book for teens and parents alike.
I loved this book soo much, the only thing that I hate is the ending. I love the conflicts and the tone in the readers voices, this book couldn't be better.