Wed, 07 Jun, 2023

Book Review: Eleanor and Park

By Rojan Maharjan

Eleanor and Park is a young adult novel written by Rainbow Rowell and published in 2013. Critically acclaimed since its release, the writer has received several honors and praises from famous writers like John Green who said of the book, “it reminded me not just what it’s like to be young and in love with a girl, but also what it’s like to be young and in love with a book.”

This novel follows the lives of two totally different teenagers Eleanor and Park. Eleanor is a big sixteen year-old girl with serious family problems, and Park is a half-Korean sixteen year-old boy. They meet on their school bus and share a bus seat when Eleanor has nowhere else to sit. Park doesn’t think much of Eleanor at first. Eleanor similarly thinks Park is like those other kids who dislike her because of her looks and doesn’t think much of him either. Both of them are forced to sit with each other daily on the bus, and at the beginning, neither of them like it. As time goes on, Eleanor starts to secretly peek at the comics that Park is reading. Park notices this, and he starts slowing down just enough so that Eleanor can catch up. This is how their attachment to each other begins. Through something as random as comic books, they start getting close to each other. In the beginning, they didn’t even talk and just quietly read the comics together, but as time goes on, Park gives some comics to Eleanor so she can read them at home.

They get really close. Park starts to know about the environment in Eleanor’s home and how her abusive step-father has traumatized her mother and siblings. Eleanor prefers staying in Park’s home as long as possible because of the stuff going on in her home. The writer has brilliantly narrated this story, from both Eleanor and Park’s perspective, and has managed to perfectly capture the feelings they have for one another. This story covers many problems that we face in our society, like domestic abuse, child abuse, and bullying.

One of my favorite quote from the book is, “She never looked nice. She looked like art, and art wasn’t supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something.”

With many twists and turns, this is one of the most interesting books I have read, and I would recommend it to anyone who’s looking for a good read.