Book review of Eleanor and Park
Author: Rainbow Rowell
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.
There are some books which are so good that you want to jump up and down and tell everyone to read it. And then there are some books which feel so personal that you want to sit alone in complete silence, and read every word slowly. Eleanor and Park comes under the latter, it is the kind of book which you want to read curled up on a couch, and keep locked inside your heart.
If there is one thing which can be learned from Rainbow Rowell, it is how to weave an extraordinary tale out of an ordinary story. Eleanor and park, is not a classic, neither is it some revolutionary work of literature which will change the way you look at the world or how you see things. It is pretty much clear from the beginning, what is going to happen, and even the big secret can be guessed easily. What saves this novel from becoming another run of the mill love story and makes it something special are the little things. Little things like how they talk for the first time, the first time Park holds Eleanor’s hand, and the first awkward kiss they share.
Holding Eleanor’s hand was like holding a butterfly. Or a heartbeat. Like holding something complete, and completely alive.
It is heartwarming to see how their relationship develops over comic books, walkman and mixed tapes. It is not every day that we get to see how love grows from the pages of Alan Moore’s Watchmen and how the melodies of Joy Division’s Love Will Tear US Apart bring two people close. Rowell takes us to a world where “Saturdays are the worst” and “Mondays are the best.”
As the novel is set in the year 1986, it is full of nostalgia. Walkman was a thing back then; they fell in love listening to mixed tapes. They only had one phone conversation and it was one of the most beautiful scenes in the entire novel.
‘I don’t think I even breathe when we are not together’, she whispered. Which means, when I see you on Monday morning, it’s been like sixty hours since I’ve taken a breath.’
Even though there was not much to boast about story wise, the ending was surprisingly good. I loved how Rowell ended the novel. She, in fact doesn’t end the story, she ends the book but not the story. She makes the novel so much more personal, by giving the readers the liberty to imagine Eleanor and Park’s story even after the book ends.
So, go for this warm, fuzzy and sweet concoction of words for Eleanor and Park’s journey. Read this novel to experience school once again. Read it to relive the 90s all over again. Read it for the magic of Rowell’s words. Read it to fall in love with the innocence and purity of first love.