‘Eleanor and Park’ – Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor and Park


Having recently read a couple of Rainbow Rowell novels, it didn’t take long to sniff out another potential read. Most reviews of this were overwhelmingly positive, gushing even, which put me off a little. I was worried about not ‘getting it’ or not quite feeling as positive about it as I hoped to. Thankfully, I needn’t have worried. This quite hooked me.

I can overlook the fact that Eleanor and Park seem to fall in love overnight, and with virtually no contact, as the pair of them together were so earnest and lovely. Both misfits in their own way, they are great characters who just seem to find each other at the right time.

My main gripe with this novel was that I felt we dwelt on the relationship between Park and Eleanor at the expense of developing our understanding of their home environments/relationships. I can’t understand how all these people seem to know what Richie (Eleanor’s step-dad) is like, but do nothing about the situation. It could also have been interesting to flesh out some of the other characters who see something in both Eleanor and Park. These are not unlikeable teenagers, but they were in their own little bubble for so much of the story and yet there were clearly people who cared about them.

I also found it quite disconcerting to have such an obviously dated setting with regard to tapes and cultural references. I loved this, but wonder if it might be a little off-putting to contemporary readers.

Though the romantic in me hopes the words on Eleanor’s final postcard gave Park hope of them meeting again soon, I admire the fact that Rowell left us uncertain about what happens.