Eleanor and Park
by Rainbow Rowell
reviewed by Mattison Interian
Eleanor and Park is a story that was beautifully put together by Rainbow Rowell depicting the love story between Eleanor Douglas and Park Sheridan. Rowell very eloquently constructed Eleanor & Park so that you almost feel the same way that Eleanor and Park do when they first meet, when they realize they are starting to like each other and when they finally let their emotions show when they fall in love.
Eleanor Douglas is your average teenage girl in the 1980’s, she fantasizes about heroes and her true love coming to her aid in a dreadful situation and she enjoys mix tapes of popular bands; but she also deals with problems that no teenage girl wants to face. Eleanor is bullied for being overweight, for how she wears her clothes and for her family being poor. In addition to being bullied at school, Eleanor’s stepfather, Richie, abuses her and her family. Richie especially hates Eleanor, so much so that he threw her out of his house for a year.
Park Sheridan is your average teenage boy, he loves comic books and mix tapes but he also deals with problems like racism and trying to figure out who he really is. Park is half-Korean and that leads to a lot of racist jokes directed at him. Park often believes that his father doesn’t love him. He feels that because he is not the perfect son his father wants, like his younger brother, all of his father’s love is directed towards his brother.
Eleanor and Park’s relationship begins in the way a lot of relationships between fifteen year olds do, awkwardly. It all started when Eleanor was forced to sit next to Park on the bus to school. To avoid Eleanor, Park would bring comic books that eventually, Eleanor began to read over his shoulder. Park began to bring comic books for her and eventually they began to bond over them and the mix tapes of the bands Park enjoys. It is once Eleanor and Park begin dating that things go wrong. Eleanor begins to receive sexually explicit and rude comments written on her textbooks. Her stepdad Richie begins to get suspicious that Eleanor is keeping something from him and the beatings her and her family receive become more and more frequent. Things progressively get worse and worse until one night when all the disastrous and horrible elements in Eleanor’s life all take a turn for the worst.
Eleanor and Park is a great book for anyone who loves romantic dramas. The romance aspect is balanced very well with the dramatic aspect through out the story and readers will feel the same love and sense of security Eleanor and Park feel when they are together, but they will also feel the anger, pain and suffering they feel when they are apart.