This novel was heartbreakingly beautiful. I’ve never read anything by Rainbow Rowell before – two of her books I’ve bought over the years, but have been sat in my to-be-read pile since then. I picked ‘Eleanor and Park’ up at the library, and I am so glad I did.
Rowell’s novel was absolutely beautiful – the descriptive writing especially. Some of the ways she has described parts of the narrative are done in such an original way, with Rowell’s clear sense of voice shining through out. I fell in love with this book from the first page. There was something about her writing that was just so honest, it had me hooked straight away.
The characters felt so real – they actually acted like normal people, which I really loved. Normally I would shy away from romance novels – I like the novels I read to have much more to them than just a romance, but Rowell wrote ‘Eleanor and Park’ in such an original way that I didn’t really think too much about it. They were proper, fleshed out characters with their own complexities. Eleanor’s home life was really shocking, and neither characters felt like 2D stock romance characters. I did not see the twist coming, and while the ending was so sad, Rowell still leaves a hint towards hope for the characters. What I really loved about the characters were that they were perfectly ordinary people – Eleanor had frizzy red hair and was overweight, while Park was a skinny Asian boy who was really quiet. These details made them far more relatable and interesting to read about.
There was something so sweet and innocent about this novel that just made me fall in love with love all over again. There was something so hopeful about the plot that it seemed to give you back a sense of naivety that everything would be alright in the end. What was brilliant about Rowell’s writing was that she didn’t leave it obvious what happened – she leaves it up to the reader’s imagination as to what happens with Eleanor and Park’s story. Contrary to most writers’ pitfalls, Rowell doesn’t fall victim to the ‘show don’t tell’ mantra. Several times through out the novel she cleverly shows you or implies what happens within the plot, rather than detail “they lived happily together forever, the end” she gives a hint of what happens and leaves it up to the reader’s interpretation. Without giving too many spoilers away, ‘just three words’. BRILLIANT.
There aren’t enough good things that I can say about this novel. I can’t think of anything that annoyed me about her writing or plot – the plot twist was so gritty and made you as a reader feel so uncomfortable when you realised what Rowell was implying. She had expertly dropped little hints along the way which only make sense after she gives you a massive pointer as to what was actually happening. I would give it a 5/5 because it was beautiful and brilliant and I can’t wait to read more of Rowell’s stuff. I can’t believe I never picked up one of her books before!!