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March Book Review 2019: Eleanor & Park

My Reasons For Reading This Book

My mom has always talked about Eleanor & Park and how much she thought I would enjoy reading it. After many years of her telling me to read it I finally decided it was time. As I mentioned with my last book review, I have been in need of somewhat light reads. I am a busy bee in school and don't really have the time or energy to read a thought provoking and intense book.

Content of the Book

Eleanor and Park are two high school students who are not necessarily seen as "cool" and are the outcasts of their grade. Eleanor is the new girl at school and she doesn't make the best first impression on the other students. She has her own unique fashion sense and can't seem to act they way she should or she is never saying the right thing. Park is half-Korean and always wears black and keeps to himself by listening to music or reading comics. On Eleanor's first day of school Park and her share a seat on the bus. With every bus ride Park begins sharing comic books and music with Eleanor. Park and Eleanor become more than friends. Due to Eleanor's living situation she has to hide her relationship with Park. Hiding won't last for long and eventually everything will come to light. Read this book to see how these two teens deal with body image, discovering themselves, dealing with home life, and trying to navigate their first real relationship. The narration of this book switches between the perspective of both Eleanor and Park.

What I Liked About the Book

I loved that this book was dual-narrated by both Eleanor and Park. I think that the choice to write the book this way enhanced the perspective that both characters were taking in regards to what was happening in their relationship. Including both perspectives also gave the reader an insight into what was happening to each character in their individual lives and their home life. Doing it this way also let the reader see the difference between a happy and healthy parental relationship compared to a unhealthy parental relationship and how that affected both Eleanor and Park. Contrary to what my mom said I actually liked the choppy writing style. This writing style may me feel as though I was reading the diary or journal of each character. I would say that either people will like or strongly dislike this writing style. I also liked that they story was not solely focused on the growing relationship between Eleanor and Park. By including instanced of bullying, child abuse, and domestic abuse the author is providing a more true to life story compared to a candy-coated home life as is true for some teen romance novels. The inclusion of these aspects into the story also allowed the characters to learn more about themselves and to learn life lessons that otherwise may not have been included in the book. I also loved how fast this book read. While at the airport and on the airplane on the way to spring break I read more than half of the book and finished it way before I expected to. As someone who is from Rainbow Rowell's home state of Nebraska I greatly appreciated the Omaha references and Nebraska football references as well. Go Big Red!!

What I Disliked About the Book

I disliked the constant 80's references that Rainbow Rowell incorporated into the book. I was not alive in the 80's, meaning that I did not understand a majority of the references and was constantly asking my mom what they meant. With this book being published in 2013 and being a young adult novel, I would have expected her to not include references that the audience this book is geared to would not understand. That is my only true complaint about this book.

Would I Recommend This Book?

Of the many books that I have read I would without a doubt recommend this book to anyone who asked for my option on what they should read. I would recommend this book to anyone in high school or in college. Its a fast read that is worthwhile. I also have to mention that it is about time that I support an author from my home state of Nebraska. 

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