Eleanor & Park
by Rainbow Rowell
reviewed by Alyssa Adriano
Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park is romance novel in which two teenage lovebirds living in the 80’s do whatever it will take to make their relationship last. Eleanor is a chubby, red-headed, curly-haired girl who has just moved to town, and Park is the cool guy with an empty seat next to him on the bus. However, the new girl soon takes that seat, and an inspiring, unique relationship is born. Eleanor and Park continue to see each other on the bus everyday and connect to each other through music and comic books. They then begin seeing each other in the hallways, and soon they even get together after school and during weekends; their relationship only grows from there.
As readers flip through the pages, they will notice that Rainbow Rowell uses uses various techniques to convey different meanings and thoughts. She switches the narrative between Eleanor and Park throughout each chapter in the book to focus on Park’s feelings and then Eleanor’s and so on and so forth. Through this method, readers get a view of both characters’ minds and their views on the same events. Also, Rainbow Rowell does not use a plethora of figurative language which I enjoyed because it made the book easier to read and understand.
After reading the novel, Eleanor & Park, I learned so many life lessons through hidden messages in the book. Rainbow Rowell truly teaches readers these lessons, but hides them so well into the writing that one cannot even tell they are there until you relate the story to your daily life. She encourages readers to enjoy the book not only for it is heart-touching story, but also for these messages. Eleanor and Park is such an outstanding novel because of how teenagers can relate so well to everything going on in the novel. For instance, the author says “That girl - all of them - hated Eleanor before they’d even lay eyes on her. Like they’d been hired to kill her in a past life.” (Rowell 11) which is just one of the many instances to which teenagers can relate in this novel. In addition, Rowell writes about how harmful bullying is, how important it is to be yourself, and also to be grateful for your life. She also speaks of domestic abuse and how big of a problem it is. I really enjoyed reading this novel; however, I will say that the book was quite slow in the beginning, but sped up extremely quickly. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves realistic, but heart-warming novels… and to anyone who loves cliffhangers.