I Recently finished Rainbow Rowell’s novel, Eleanor & Park. Rainbow Rowell wrote fan fiction before she became an author, and listens to sad music when she writes. This book received many awards and landed on lots of year-end lists. I first read it last year, and I assumed that I wouldn’t like it. It was a romance. But I was wrong. This was an a amazing book last year and this one, too.It’s written so honestly, and it really sounds like the characters are talking to you. I chose this book because I read it last year, and I read it last year because i found it on the floor outside the school and had nothing to read. Kind of weird, I know, but it’s the truth.
This book is about a girl named Eleanor and a boy named Park, and how they find each other when they need each other. But Eleanor has an abusive stepfather and her family is broke. Park is the only thing in her life that she cares about, and that might get taken away from her too.
I really liked the way that the author had the book’s main perspective switch multiple times within a chapter. It almost is like looking at two different diaries pieced together. Both characters have unique things to say and feel differently about some of the same things, which makes for a roller-coaster of a book. I’ve always enjoyed perspectives changing, and Rowell executed it perfectly.
One passage that really struck me was when the main character was interrupted by her stepfather while she was reading: “Eleanor was only distantly conscious of Richie watching TV in the next room, and she practically fell off the bed when he jerked the bedroom door open. He looked like he expected to catch some middle-of-the-night hijinks, but when he saw that it was only Eleanor and that she was just reading, he grunted and told her to turn out the light so the little kids could sleep.” on page 74.
I was surprised that the author included such an insignificant paragraph in the book. It reveals nothing, except maybe that Richie (Eleanor’s stepfather) doesn’t trust her. It reflects the author’s style of recording tiny, forgettable observations and events – moments that would have been edited out if this were a Lifetime movie or something like that. This writing style is similar to that of Rachel Kushner in her novel, The Flamethrowers. In this book, too, the main character observes everything around her, recording them even when they had nothing to do with the rest of the story. Rainbow was really good at this. This book is one of the most honest, pure love stories I have ever experienced, whether in the form of of music, film, or television. If I were to compare this book to an album, it would be Frank Ocean’s Blonde. This book is a 9/10.