I was enticed by this book simply because of its unusual format. Its the first thing I noticed. The novel switches from character to character each chapter; a bold literary choice, but if not used the book would not have had the same effect. Eleanor and Park is a labeled as a “novel for young adults” but it proves to be much more than that. The reader is plopped on a bus with Park, an asian highschooler. Sitting with his headphones on he notices an overweight redheaded girl. Fearing her imminent fate of bullying for her, he invites her to sit next to him. Day by day the two sit in silence.When they eventually speak both are thrusted into a whole new world.
The relationship begins with Eleanor peeking over parks shoulder to read his comic book. The relationship moves on from there, the two exchange mixtapes, flirt subtly and eventually hold hands. A seemingly unimportant action to most but to the two star crossed lovers it was ever important. Rainbow Rowell’s word usage and writing style makes the love seem almost unreal, the quote that most captured me came from Park, and it perfectly illustrates the love they share. Park says “(Eleanor) never looked nice. She looked like art, and art wasn’t supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something.” Its impossible to not feel the emotion the two feel each other. Its not long after the two begin their love that Eleanor’s issues at home become a factor. The reader soon learns that Eleanor’s step father is abusive. She spends the entire novel trying to escape him, finding refuge with Park. Eleanor eventually cannot handle living with her stepfather anymore, I won’t give away what happens next.
Eleanor and Park is labeled as a novel for “young adults” but it’s much more than that. Anyone above the age of 12 would enjoy the read.The books format, use of language, and the complexity for the relationship lead to a book that extracts a variety of emotions.