BOOK REVIEW: Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Title: Eleanor and Park
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Publication: February 26, 2013
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Genre: Teens, YA Fiction
Pages: 336



SYNOPSIS: (From Goodreads)

Two misfits.
One extraordinary love.

Eleanor… Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough…Eleanor.

Park… He knows she’ll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There’s a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises…Park.

Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.


Confession: I only read the first chapter of this book. Yet, I felt no need to go any further. When an author uses the F word nine times in the first chapter (mind you, it was only five pages), that is not something I want to spend my time reading.

Now, I know this is a young adult book and kids nowadays talk that same way…blah, blah, blah. I teach middle school. No need to preach to me about how kids today use foul language. But just because that is true does not mean it is okay to write a book that makes that type of talk seem socially acceptable. It’s not. And adults who brush that off and accept it are no better than the kids who speak that way. Just sayin’.

I have almost zero respect for authors who can’t write books without using foul language. Especially someone who writes young adult fiction. You have the most amazing opportunity to influence young kids and make them fall in love with reading. Now, for some, this book may still do that, despite the language. But in my opinion, there has to be a better way. I am not a writer, and I’m not pretending I know what it’s like to write a book that people, let alone kids, will like, but I have to believe in my heart of hearts that this book could have done without the F word.

So, 1 out of 5 stars. Don’t bother with this book. Don’t read a book depicting trash mouth kids. What we put into our minds is equally as important as what we speak out of our mouths.

One out of five stars.

You can pick up your own copy of Eleanor and Park to judge the book for yourself. Get your copy from Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Also make sure to add it to your To Reads list on Goodreads and leave your feedback for the author when you are done.

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3 thoughts on “BOOK REVIEW: Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

  1. “Dont judge a book by its Chapter 1.” I think it’s too soon for you to condemn Eleanor and Park just because of the foul language. It is important to establish the characters as it is too make the plot or story successful- not necessarily that EVERY book should be filled with foul language. I know that your’e a teacher and probably doesn’t like curses thrown everywhere by the students but let’s face it: Cussing is already a part of the student culture and there’s nothing we can do about it. Contemporary Novels such as these only adapts on what really is happening in reality and that includes foul language. Even if there is freedom in what you say in reviews, but this is such this is such a frustrating, close-minded review it’s terrible. You should read it first, then review.

  2. Loved your review beause I felt the same after reading a couple pages of the book. There may have been 9 F words in the five pages of the first chapter, but about 4-5 uses on the frist two pages.

    For people to say, “That’s just how kids talk today.” I don’t care. This book took place over 30 years ago. I rode a bus in 1986. People didn’t talk like that. I went to a public school. Cursing was no where near as prevelant then as it is now. Drugs, sex, maybe. That was everywhere. Cussing like they do on page one and two of this book, wasn’t, except by a few people.

    I worte a young adult novel, a coming of age story set in the Chicago suburbs during the summer of 1979. I don’t think I have one cuss word in there, maybe a damn, but that’s all. I also have (spoiler alert) an awkwardly written date rape scene, but that was all the sex. Check out Summer of Sharona if you’d like. I’m also now writing a book that takes place in the mid-1980s that I thought some might think was similar to Eleanor & Park, so I did try to read a few pages to see if there’s anything similar. Once I read all the F words, I figured my book would not be in the same category. My new book will probably be banned because of some mysoginisitc thinking on part of my main character and his brother, but without that in the beginning (like Angry said above), the plot can’t really play out and there wouldn’t be growth or an arc in the character. However, I don’t beleive the same could be said of the necessity for cussing. The way someone uses foul language doesn’t seem to be something that would help form a story arc. The way someone thinks about the oppositie sex and treats the opposite sex (as is the case with my first chapter) I believe can really shape a story or at least demonstrate how a character grows. Amy, I believe you’d put my book down before my first chapter ended because of a couple graphic examples of sexual relations. But then again, I think a lot of people would detest it because it won’t include foul language. Sometimes, an author can’t please anyone, huh?

    Again, great reveiw of Eleanor & Park. I’m sure there are parts of it I’d really enjoy, unless the amount of foul langauge used in chapter one is just as strong in subsequent chapters.

    Have a great day Amy,

  3. Thank you for saying exactly what I felt! I also stopped the book after the first few pages because of the casual drop of the f-word. I’m not interested in hearing it. It’s completely unacceptable as well as unnecessary. Especially in a Young Adult book which by media standards is the ages of 12-18!!!
    Most probably consider a young adult as 16-18 maybe? but that’s not the case in books. Would you want your 12 year old reading this and thinking it’s “normal” nowadays so just get used to it? I personally wouldn’t. That is why I read them in the first place. To avoid all the bad language and to be able to read a hopefully “cleaner” book. So, thanks again for sharing your review. I only wish I would have seen it before starting the book.

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