PROS: - Outcasts and minorities have more visibility/representation. - Easy read. - Fairly good depiction of difficult home life. - Couple of nice, puppy...morePROS: - Outcasts and minorities have more visibility/representation. - Easy read. - Fairly good depiction of difficult home life. - Couple of nice, puppy love feels.
CONS: - Boring, contrived, and typical. - Offensive and exploitative. - Orientalism and fetishism of Asians. - Romanticization in all the wrong places.
COMMENTS: I have a lot of ambivalent feels about this book. Like many, it was recommended to me because I enjoyed The Fault in Our Stars. If you asked someone to describe me, one of the first things they'd say is that I wear my heart on my sleeve. Fabricate a wonderful story about a box named Chandra and I would travel with that character through pain and pleasure. You could make me fall for a charming and compassionate pencil. So if stories don't move me the way they were intended to, it's subpar. E&P is just that: subpar.
I can personally empathize with Eleanor's home situation and I'm glad Rowell brought it up. BUT I'm upset that that's all she did. The author focused on what a vile monster Richie (the antagonist) was and I wished she would've expanded on the family and their struggle with Richie more and less on Eleanor and Park's relationship. It's okay to illustrate teen insecurities—it's difficult growing up, seeing teen love usually doesn't last, and finding who you are, especially in complicated situations. However, that's all this book was about. Too much typical teen angst topped with social commentary to excuse racist/sexist remarks and token characters. Yes, it's the 80's. There was a lot more explicit racism but it should have been consistent and there should have been a lot more social commentary than there was. The commentary would be so brief, that it felt like the issue was swept under the rug. Not only that, there were two young black women who never seemed fazed by their white peers. I guess in Rowell's world, she solved racism #RACISM-OVER.
On top of that, the author romanticized Eleanor's difficult home life by making it a situation for Eleanor to be saved from. Rowell never expanded on their home life with their father, her relationship with her mother, her relationship with her siblings—just focused on her resentment with them. No character growth in that. I also hated the romance between Park and Eleanor. It was so silly and Romeo & Juliet-like in nature. I struggled to believe in it; not that I ever really believe in teen romances to begin with. The teenager in me fought to accept it as it was. But I just couldn't. It was so unbearable and too childish.
I wonder how many impressionable young women wished to be in Eleanor's position—to pursue a dangerous "love" as a victim of abuse only to have a privileged K-pop star-looking guy save them. My guess is more than we can count. Also, why is it that when white writers plug in a person of color into their stories, the characters have to be half-white and/or have a white sidekick (or they are the sidekick)? Even if it isn't true, I felt like the author plugged a little bit of herself into the story so that she can live out a Korean idol star fantasy. She also wouldn't let us forget that it was the mid-80's and that Park's mother has a Korean accent. Now, don't get me wrong. I want more books to emphasize on people's characteristics, including speech. If writers wrote as if everyone's English were all American-like, that just perpetuates xenophobic thoughts and behavior. That's exactly how Park felt to me—like he was embarrassed by his mother for not being able to speaking better English or for not sounding like his white father.
I gave it a 2/5 stars because she deserves credit for not romanticizing Richie, teen insecurities, and for hitting so close to home about Eleanor's home life with Richie and her submissive mother. However, she got docked for romanticizing and exploiting that same abuse and fetishizing minorities. It would have been better to write from Eleanor's mother's point of view. Could have made for a much more powerful and true story of survival and bravery without bringing in Asians. Next time, I'm going to read the synopsis, listen to my intuition, and ignore pop culture bs written by white people who like to exploit "outcasts" and minorities to make a buck. Keep your K-pop fantasies in your journal please because this is not okay.(less)
This is the worst book I've read this year. I expected no less. Everything that I wanted to say has already been said in most of the 1-star reviews on...moreThis is the worst book I've read this year. I expected no less. Everything that I wanted to say has already been said in most of the 1-star reviews on Amazon so I won't get into it. All you need to know is that he is a highly misinformed "historian" who likes to do nothing but use this opportunity to trash talk Obama. He has a very skewed view of everything and came off as racist, sexist, misogynistic, ableist, and just about every form of oppression against a marginalized group. The fact that people like him exist in Congress is terrifying, especially because he seems to think that he's running for King and that America is his kingdom. Truly an embarrassment.(less)
I couldn't finish the first half of the first chapter. I got a box of books for free and this was one of them. Like someone else said, the "moral of t...moreI couldn't finish the first half of the first chapter. I got a box of books for free and this was one of them. Like someone else said, the "moral of this book: sex is bad; if you have sex than you won't go to college, or you won't end up engaged to the hottest guy in the school." This book sounds absolutely ludicrous. I knew it as soon as I saw the title. It's extremely heteronormative and extremely misogynistic. This just plays into the obsession with controlling what women do with their vaginas and their uteri.(less)
A friend gave this book to me and, like someone else said, it is "hackneyed, trashy, and just plain bad." I read the first chapter and my brain molded...moreA friend gave this book to me and, like someone else said, it is "hackneyed, trashy, and just plain bad." I read the first chapter and my brain molded into a disgusting wad of slush. I hate reading about women pitting themselves against other women, especially for petty reasons. This cliche style of writing is always being used in the media and it's really irritating when there are so much more poignant things to write about. Don't even bother picking this up.(less)
I read the first page and couldn't get through with it. I skipped to the last chapter and the character seems like she didn't learn squat about materi...moreI read the first page and couldn't get through with it. I skipped to the last chapter and the character seems like she didn't learn squat about materialism and superficiality. It's also very heteronormative and plays into one of the many kinds of gender roles (woman seeking a man to fulfill void or whatever). If this is supposed to be some kind of fashion satire, it was executed poorly. I don't recommend this book to anyone capable of independent thought.(less)
PROS: → Laughable in a "haha, this is so childish" sort.
CONS: → No valid arguments to support theories. → Meant to be insulting so it may or may not be...morePROS: → Laughable in a "haha, this is so childish" sort.
CONS: → No valid arguments to support theories. → Meant to be insulting so it may or may not be insulting depending on how you look at it.
If the book was meant to anger and/or make liberals laugh, then it got the job done. I like to read books to see the other people's opinions but I have only found one (Moral Politics : How Liberals and Conservatives Think; very unbiased and maturely well-written). I still have yet to find a book with opposing views where the book is well-constructed with maturity and sophistication. Most of the time, I feel like the purpose of books written by self-identified Republicans is meant to attack other people who think differently instead of talking about what they believe in. This book is no exception to that and I'm left feeling nothing but disappointed.(less)