Eleanor and Park – Sweetness Poured in Words

Eleanor and Park

Book’s Name : Eleanor and Park

Author’s Name : Rainbow Rowell

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This book reminded me that even nearing thirty has not dimmed that teenager inside me. This is a story of two young kids who are living their school life and falling in love. I wish to live in this book’s world for a few more days minutes.  Every time they took a step ahead, I squealed with happiness. (I know I need a psychiatrist! :P)

This book has every cheesy line possible, but then it hooks you so badly, that you start feeling that this is what we did at this age.


Eleanor is overweight newbie at a school with strawberry hair and ill-fitting dresses. Poverty and bad home life had made her prickly and acerbic.  She has a thorny personality owing to her extremely bad home life. Park is a bit different too. He thinks of himself as an outcast both at home and with his classmates.

The story moves from their reluctant sitting arrangement, to reading of comics together, to quick exchanges every now and then, to becoming a couple. Every small interaction, every little word exchanged, the comics and music exchanged, the stolen moments together, all  made me feel the butterflies along with them. It was absolutely adorable.
What I liked 

1) The growing friendship – The book shows that they didn’t like each other initially, yet their friendship grew. It started with awkward silence of ignoring each other into a friendship which made one spill secrets. Although the development of romance happened very quickly, the progression from acquaintances to friends is very well done.

2) Changing POV – Usually I don’t like hopping POVs. But as the chapters jump from Park and Eleanor, I can’t help but love being in their heads. I enjoyed seeing how both of them felt differently yet so similarly.

3) Ending – This was a mixed bag. I’m not fan of open endings. But I think interpretation of this open ending depends upon the cynicism of the readers. I felt it was a happy ending. More than being happy, it was Eleanor’s true reaction, something which I would have expected from her. After all, she is the girl who didn’t believe Romeo and Juliet were in love. I wanted to jump and dance in joy when the following section came:

She rolled her eyes again.  ‘Romeo and Juliet are just two rich kids who’ve always gotten every little thing they wanted. And now, they think they want each other.’

‘They’re in love …’ Mr Stessman said, clutching his heart.

‘They don’t even know each other,’ she said.

‘It was love at first sight.’

‘It was “Oh my God, he’s so cute” at first sight. If Shakespeare wanted you to believe they were in love, he wouldn’t tell you in almost the very first scene that Romeo was hung up on Ros-aline … It’s Shakespeare making fun of love,’ she said.

4) Prose – I can’t even count how many of the quotes I loved in this book. I can go on writing the quotes here, and write almost entire book again. But I can’t resist quoting few of my favorites.

“Holding Eleanor’s hand was like holding a butterfly. Or a heartbeat. Like holding something complete, and completely alive.”

“Eleanor was right. She never looked nice. She looked like art, and art wasn’t supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something.”

*sigh* Who wouldn’t love hearing that, or reading that.
What irked me

Subplots – Some subplots feel short-changed, like I was left wondering about the problems between each character and their respective parents – Park with his Dad, Eleanor with her mom and her stepdad. The ending was open, true, but then the fate of these characters and relations should also have been told.

Overall Opinion

An excellent romance if you enjoy sweet stories. It has its darkness too, but the sweet moments override those dark moments.


Four Stars

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: I=Instalove=Confession#9 | Parichita Singh

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