Park does not want the weird red-headed new girl to sit next to him on the bus. He lives in fear of the day that his popular childhood friends realize he’s no longer one of them and stop leaving him alone. But nobody else will let her sit down, and finally he gives in. If you had told him that day that they would form a tentative friendship during their bus rides, bonding over comic books and mix tapes, he would have scoffed. And if you had told him he would grow to love her…. but Park begins to learn that he and Eleanor are more alike than he ever could have imagined, and also more different. Because Eleanor lives in a world of darkness that he’s never known and can only try to save her from. Set in 1986 Omaha and told from alternating viewpoints, this is a story of love, friendship, and the various definitions and rules of family.
***Warning: this review talks in very vague terms about the outcome of this story. If you want to go into Eleanor and Park completely knowledge-free, you may want to stop reading.***
Can I review a book separately from its ending?
This book was downright beautiful, poignant, and impeccably written. It’s one of those books that you handle gently because it inspires a sense of reverence. Eleanor and Park climbed out of the pages and breathed, what they had was so believable, so true. The progression of their relationship from its chilly beginning was enthralling to follow.
And then the climax of the story happened, and it totally stomped on my heart and I cried my eyes out for the rest of the day and augh. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, when I read, I want to be left feeling happy and uplifted. That’s just my personal stance. I can find enough to be depressed about on the front cover of the newspaper every day.
The thing is, the very very ending of E&P is hopeful, some might even say definitively positive. But it’s so little to grasp onto that it only somewhat helped me.
My goal of this site is to avoid cold professionalism, so I guess I can’t really give you an ultimate value judgment on Eleanor and Park, I can only describe my experience with it. I’ve decided I’m not sorry I read it. It’s really a beautiful book, and the horrible things you’re probably imagining in the plot based on my dire statements are inaccurate, there’s no apocalypse or anything. It’s just that I wasn’t prepared for how things turned out in the story, and it quite upset me. It’s one of those books that you have to be sure you’re in the right mindset for before you start it. But if you like books that make you feel something powerful and speak volumes of universal truth, this is definitely the book to choose.
If you have further questions about the vague and confusing things I’ve said, leave a comment, or if the question involves elaboration on specific plot points, shoot me an e-mail at email@example.com.