I'm calling my rating a 4.5 because personally, I'm not sure how I feel about the ending. There's a few questions I have that I wish had been answeredI'm calling my rating a 4.5 because personally, I'm not sure how I feel about the ending. There's a few questions I have that I wish had been answered and in fact, the ending left me with more questions than answers.
With that said I pretty much read the whole book in one go. Stayed up literally all night and fell asleep maybe 50 pages before the end. Then preceded to wake again and again and try to finish despite repeatedly dozing back off. I tend to be the sort who actually finds ways to prolong books and even movies that I really enjoy. I will put them down and read slowly to savor them. It's exceedingly rare for me to like a book so much that I'm devouring it and just don't care or can't even bear to take my time with it.
At around 24 pages in I was proclaiming I loved this book and needed to read Rowell's other books. I was already planning to add her to my favorite authors list on Goodreads. This book resonated with me the way The Fault in Our Stars resonated with so many, especially in the way TFioS hit girls like me- young adults with severe and life limiting illnesses. But me? I liked that book enough. But it did not ring true. But Eleanor and Park? Holy crap, someone wrote a somewhat idealized version of my teen years! Heck yes!
I could see myself fangirling out on this book. I'm sort of surprised this book is as popular as it. I mean I think it's well written and I know that perhaps the censorship controversy and whatnot helped increase interest. Perhaps also the John Green review (and seriously I don't honestly get the whole Fault in our Stars fangirl thing. I feel guilty admitting that in fact...) I think I'm surprised because see, I'm an Eleanor. To this day, even though I've grown up, I'm an Eleanor. I would hedge a large bet that so is Rainbow. But Eleanor's are rare. Ironically and maybe that's because of the nature of books, I'm going to guess many people either want to be or wish they had been Eleanor's or are now claiming they are even though they really know they aren't. I say that because as anyone should know having read this book and would know if they were an Eleanor- Eleanors aren't popular. In fact they're often all out hated. High school isn't a place to be different (and me at least? I was a quirky "marching to her own beat" girl from the day I started school) Eleanor's are girls who can't even try to fit in. It's not in them to be anyone but themselves. There teachers praise them for their uniqueness but the student body tends to take the opposite approach.
That's both a partial/ one character synopsis of the book and the story of my life too. I can for sure say that if by chance you were that kid too. If you also had some dark stuff going on in your home. If you dreamed of and lived for the idea that you might one day find a refuge and an escape in love, in your very own Park, then you need to run, not walk, to your nearest public library (if you're a Rainbow, you're definitely one of those geeks who still loves and adamantly supports your local library. You're also probably too poor to afford to buy your own copy ;) and get this book. Get it now!
I can't really even guess what this book would be like to the average reader. I already know I'm not. Eleanors of the world are rare. We're also so rarely represented in literature or even anywhere else. It's not even because we're the chubby redhead either. But because we're just not your typical high schooler or YA character. Maybe we are what today's hipsters wish they were so there's that. But I guess I would say if you like witty, quirky, unique characters and geeky stuff like comic books and references to both Star Wars and Star Trek and if you feel compelled to pop some Joy Division or Smith's on your turn table or iPod while reading then you will enjoy this. Romance fans may like it too though more so I think this book is for the anti romance fans. Park and Eleanor aren't perfect kids with a perfect love. That works so well for me. And gosh darn it, within a few chapters I was just literally tickled, damn it, TICKLED by how Rainbow Rowell writes her characters. It was spot on quirky punk rocker high school nerdy kids. I could've sworn I had the same sorts of discussions in my teens, did the same things, spoke in the same way. And boy what a fun, emotional, utterly enthralling ride it was. This is the kind of book I genuinely wish I had written myself. It was perfect for me.
So here's to the Eleanor's of the world! Finally, there's a book out there for us! ...more