Eleanor and Park

Eleanor & Park - Rainbow Rowell

I have to say that I liked this book a lot more before I thought about it. The writing wasn't annoying to me and I was curious about this love story between a girl with a shit home life and the indie kid who trying to navigate his life. However after talking to my sister she pointed out that the book is hella racist. At first I thought "huh didn't really get that" and then I thought about it for a minute and realized holy hell it really is.  I realized that I had let a lot of it slide because of the point of view situation and a lot of it is Park's self loathing, but this book was written by a white lady who isn't Korean. I also think that the Park calling out the the racism that he was experiencing on the bus in the beginning also primed me to let a lot of the other issues slide, but even that being said I still felt uncomfortable with some of the things that were said. Example: Park to Ming the Merciless. I didn't even know that was a flash gordon reference and I was uncomfortable. And there are a dozen other issues.  I read this article from angry girl comics and she breaks down how much othering is going on in the book.


I totally get why this book is popular. It's very Romeo and Juliet without the killing themselves bit, the bullying and self loathing is relateable, and people want someone who will love all the things they feel insecure about. I get it. I just wish the book did a better job. Also WTF was that ending. I ignore you for over a year then drop you a postcard. No No No.


Audiobook note: I really enjoy when books with different view points have different readers and this book had a great pairing, which is another reason why I probably liked it a lot more when I didn't think about it.