Tiffany’s review of Eleanor & Park > Likes and Comments

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message 1: by Hyeshin (new)

Hyeshin Great review and something Rowell should really consider next time she wants to include PoC in her literature. We don't just want to be visible! If you want to write about an Asian-American's experiences, do your research. Also, PARK? No Korean would name their child a surname. If I want to share a part of my heritage with my child, I would either give my last name as a middle name, do a joint last name, or just give a MEANINGFUL Korean first name. White authors are so obsessed with giving surnames as first names for Asian+ characters (not that we've had much visibility, much less humane representation in YA particularly) (e.g. Cho Chang)


message 2: by Eilonwy (new)

Eilonwy No kidding about the "Creepy White Guys with Asian Fetishes" vibe in this book. I'm white, but that's exactly how I've been thinking about the relationship between Park's parents. And I can't quite decide whether it's deliberate on the author's part, especially since part of the tension between Park and his dad seems to stem from Park's dad's creepy fetish extending to the "feminine" Park and disturbing them both ... but then it's never really explored, and just sits there as this "ewwww" element of the story. I'm really not quite sure what to make of it.


message 3: by Tiffany (new)

Tiffany Hyeshin - I KNOW RIGHT. I have a problem with non-POCs writing about POC's experiences because by default they don't see or experience racism the same way that POCs do. And Rainbow Rowell seems to have this really outdated or ignorant view of it. It disturbs me.

Eilonwy - I'm glad you feel similarly. That's one of my biggest problems with Eleanor & Park, the fact that there are a lot of racist or fetishizing moments in the book that are completely glossed over. Not speaking about it is an endorsement of it as the status quo. SO NHFT.


message 4: by Eilonwy (last edited Mar 03, 2014 10:01AM) (new)

Eilonwy I've added a comment in my review pointing this out more strongly than I did the first time around. It really is glossed over, and it's something people should be aware of.

I've been writing from the POV of some POC characters, but I do worry that I'm not getting the racism right. Big racism is easy, but I know there must be all kinds of smaller but still aggravating or hurtful slights happening to POCs every day that I'm not attuned to, the same way that there's big sexism, and then this constant drone of sexism that women experience and I'm not sure men see at all. Privilege is so wonderfully invisible to those who have it.


message 5: by Emma (new)

Emma F Would any portrayal of a white/Korean marriage be acceptable to you?


message 6: by Tiffany (new)

Tiffany Sure. I would love to hear about a white/Korean marriage founded on things like friendship and mutual respect and recognition and appreciation of one another's backgrounds and experiences.


message 7: by [deleted user] (new)

I saw your status on the Doctor Who thing and I thought I should let you know that the Doctor was credited as "Doctor Who" until David Tennant's era, so Rowell wasn't completely wrong.

And I love your review. I honestly didn't get why people loved it so much when I read it, especially since it has a lot of racism.


message 8: by Tiffany (last edited Apr 24, 2014 07:19AM) (new)

Tiffany AHHH. Haha thanks. I retract my statement!


message 9: by [deleted user] (new)

No problem :) It is confusing though, because even in Classic Who the companions just called him "Doctor".


message 10: by Tiffany (last edited Apr 24, 2014 07:24AM) (new)

Tiffany Dear people of the Internet, I wrote a VERY LONG COMMENT and I don't want it to be for naught (lol), so... more thoughts on diversity/race/culture in books here: http://www.yahighway.com/2014/04/im-s...


message 11: by Toqa (new)

Toqa GREAT REVIEW! I kinda suck at writing reviews but you just put all my thoughts into words!! Plus it's so cheesy you wanna throw yourself off a cliff!


message 12: by Ciara (new)

Ciara Thrower I finally get it you guys. They fall in love because of their differences! Here she is. A girl without a phone who is chubby and has fire like hair whose house he can't go to. That's different. There he is. With a name like park and from a place (Korea) that seems different to her because well she doesn't know anyone there and obviously has never been there. What rainbow is trying to do is make fun of teen love because we become so intrigued when something different comes along. That explains why there are some underground racism found there, but being an African American girl I hate that she chose the black girls to be low on the social caste system that is high school. I mean come on with names like Bebi and DeNice I was very offended but I suppose Rainbow was also trying to show how important race was back then or the curtains were just fucking blue.


message 13: by Kriss (new)

Kriss I was reading reviews after just finishing this book HOPING someone would mention the ~casual~ racism. SO many times while reading this book I had to put it down and just turn and stare at my wall. (...à la turning to look at the camera in Parks & Rec.)

That on top of the fact that Park is Korean, yet it never properly touches on what he goes though.

....THAT AND HIS NAME BEING "P-A-R-K." .... I have to wonder why the author did this....???? Yes Park is a Korean LAST name...???? but...............???? What????


message 14: by Eilonwy (new)

Eilonwy Tiffany, have you seen this?
http://ubeempress.com/2015/04/19/a-ma...


message 15: by Harshini (new)

Harshini Tiffany read it again and you might change your mind


message 16: by Kriss (new)

Kriss @harshini lol nah


message 17: by Tiffany (new)

Tiffany Eilonwy wrote: "Tiffany, have you seen this?
http://ubeempress.com/2015/04/19/a-ma..."


I love that! Thanks for sharing!


message 18: by Tiffany (new)

Tiffany Krissasaur wrote: "@harshini lol nah"

BEST.


message 19: by Leyah (new)

Leyah Such a good review. I totally agree and I love your reading progress coments!


message 20: by Alexandra (new)

Alexandra I just feel like you are feeling offended. The race doesn't mean shit. The only effect it has on Park's life is that he has to struggle with his different looks. And yes, I am white. Yes, I am clearly saying there is no fucking casual racism in this book and you just feel offended because you are Asian just like some of the characters. Now call me stupid or anything, but I feel like the race means nothing and you are being racist for making it such a big deal. I know the relationship between Park's parents was not really developed, but it is Park's perspective. I don't know anything about my parents' relationship, not even how they met. And as you could read, they talked a lot and respected eahother. Also, I did not feel like Park's father saved his mother from her "poor condition". Maybe she didn't like it in Asia (I myself don't like it in my country and want to go elsewhere, maybe Africa) or maybe her family wasn't nice. Maybe she just fell in love with him so hard nothing else mattered (which you might thing is not realistic, but my aunt loves her husband a lot, they have been married since they were 19 -for 30 years now- and they love eachother so deeply, anyone can see it so clearly). I think you should stop ranting about the racism -which does not exist- and focus on the teenage love. It is real, not forever, but for now. It is quite a lovely book.


message 21: by kates (new)

kates I'm so with you, OP!


message 22: by Natasha (new)

Natasha Yeah, there was no true plot, I agree :/


message 23: by Marilena (new)

Marilena The book is about Eleanor's and Park's love story it's not about the background in my opinion it's a wonderful book and if there was a so detailed background I'd be bored to read it really I think this book is THE best romance book I've ever read.


message 24: by Lin (new)

Lin The book was realistic. It sounds like you wanted the book to be PC. But life isn't PC and it certainly wasn't back in 1986 in Omaha. I grew up in a working class neighborhood in a small town, and the whole situation rings true.


message 25: by Tiffany (new)

Tiffany Alexandra wrote: "The only effect it has on Park's life is that he has to struggle with his different looks. And yes, I am white. Yes, I am clearly saying there is no fucking casual racism in this book and you just feel offended because you are Asian just like some of the characters."

Ai yi yi...


message 26: by Tiffany (last edited Feb 11, 2017 07:40PM) (new)

Tiffany Lin wrote: "The book was realistic. It sounds like you wanted the book to be PC. But life isn't PC and it certainly wasn't back in 1986 in Omaha. I grew up in a working class neighborhood in a small town, and ..."

I'm glad it felt realistic to you. Maybe it was, in fact, realistic. I still don't think it's well-written OR a compelling story. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I stand by what I said almost 4 years ago now: Asians are objectified and exoticized in this book (by Eleanor and perhaps the author, by extension). It's not okay to glorify that racism, or to shrug it off as "teenage love."

I'm disturbed but not surprised by the number of people who will disregard the issues so many others have rightly brought up and STILL continue to defend this book so fiercely while attacking its critics. IT IS OKAY TO LIKE PROBLEMATIC THINGS. But you can't pretend the problems don't exist.


message 27: by Joanne (new)

Joanne Kim Hey Tiffany, I don't know what kind of books you normally like to read, but I think you should give To All The Boys I've Loved Before a try. It may not suit your reading tastes, but I wanted to throw it out there because I think it's portrayal of race dynamics are much more accurate than Eleanor and Park's, although it's not the main focal point of a novel. For instance, the protagonist, Lara Jean, and her sisters are bi-racial (Half Caucasian, Half Korean) and this plays a role in their identity, although I wish this could've been explored more in depth. Also, the relationship between Lara's parents are different from the relationship between Park's parents in that Lara's father's love for her mother seems much more genuine to me. There's more I could say about it, but I think I've talked (written) too much already, lol.


message 28: by Tiffany (new)

Tiffany Joanne wrote: "Hey Tiffany, I don't know what kind of books you normally like to read, but I think you should give To All The Boys I've Loved Before a try. It may not suit your reading tastes, but I wanted to thr..."

Hi Joanne - thanks for your thoughts! I adore To All the Boys I've Loved Before! You're right, the dynamics in that one feel way more accurate and genuine - which I guess makes sense, given that Jenny Han has firsthand experience being Korean :P I would have loved to see it explored more as well, but at the same time I like that being Korean is a part of LJ's identity but not the only thing.


message 29: by Fountain (new)

Fountain omg, its so weird reading and finding about all this stuff now that I'm older. I first read the book when I was maybe in 7th or 8th grade and didn't really pick up on that stuff. But now I'm older (20) and re-reading it and lol, it is NOT as good as I remember it. Great review, I'm glad I found it!


message 30: by Meghan (new)

Meghan McGhee I agree 100% with the original poster. I just think the book is trash honestly don't get the hype. Too problematic for me


message 31: by Avaexists (new)

Avaexists park and his family ruined the whole story tbh


message 32: by Meran (new)

Meran Rhodes You do realize that this book was set in the 80's and casual racism was not even blinked at. I know it's wrong and I'm not saying otherwise but I'm just pointing out that Rowell chose a setting and stuck to it. Just food for thought


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