Eleanor & Park: A Review by Hedie Mahmoudian


Many are quick to judge an individual, without even knowing what goes on in their life behind closed doors. However, there are those few special people who come into our lives and help us overcome our challenges while also cheering us on. In Rainbow Rowell’s most famous novel, which takes place in the mid-1980’s, we learn about the story of two “star-crossed lovers” who meet in an unlikely of situations.

School is not often thought of as a safe haven, especially not to Eleanor Douglas. Eleanor is a young girl with bright red hair, a chubby appearance and a habit of dressing in men’s clothing, all of which results in her being constantly bullied at school. She also deals with an abusive father who threatens not only her own life but those of her family members as well. On the opposite end of the spectrum is Park Sheridan. Park is a quiet young boy living in a family-oriented household with his Korean mother and American father. He was living a fairly normal life, well, at least until he meet Eleanor.

Ever since their first encounter together on the bus to school, they’ve had a special way of communicating through the help of Park’s comic books and were finally able to build their relationship to the point of confessing their “undying love for one another”. However, love never comes without difficulties and sometimes serious consequences, especially in the case of Eleanor and Park. The question is, will they finally be able to overcome these challenges and live their lives together without fear? The answer is much more complicated than you may think.

With Eleanor and Park, Rainbow Rowell astounds us with one of her greatest pieces. It is a story of love, life, and how the two don’t often intertwine as easily as we would like. It gives us a punch of reality and helps us learn that in order to truly love another, we must be willing to accept them with everything they offer (both good and bad). It gives girls a chance to learn that your body is not the defining factor of true love, but rather your personality, courage, perseverance and strength will determine how bright you shine to those who have the opportunity to witness your beauty. In conclusion, Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor and Park is a must read for individuals who wish to remember what life was like when they met their first love, or for those wondering what first love is really like.




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