Title : Eleanor and Park
Author : Rainbow Rowell
Narrators : Rebecca Lowman, Sunil Malhotra
Genre : Romance
Publisher : Listening Library
Listening Length : 8 hours 56 minutes
Rating : 3.5/5
Narrator Rating : 4.5/5
I don’t think I’m the target audience for this book (YA, I’d assume) because this book’s tale is a romance between 2 high schoolers. I only picked it up because I’d listened to Rowell’s Landline, and I’d read heard good things about this one. He, Park, is a half-Korean kid with eclectic tastes, owing to which he’s too much of a wuss to his sports-enthusiast father. She, red-haired Eleanor, is one of 5 kids in her family teetering on the brink of poverty.
When they meet on the bus, because Park grumpily shares his seat with her, they can barely tolerate each other. But slowly, they bond over Park’s X-men comics and mix tapes. Park’s family is not too happy with his “weird”, unsmiling, badly-dressed girlfriend, and Eleanor does not have the guts to tell her parents of her relationship. When push comes to shove, Eleanor must trust Park, but she’s not quite sure how this all will end.
I did enjoy this book, although I looked at it from a non-teenager’s point-of-view. It is kind of sweet and sad, and I felt for Eleanor because of the terrible situation other adults had put her in; I was tsk-tsking all the way. Rowell does well in this book what she did well in Landline – she exposes the underpinnings of a relationship, and manages to get us the readers to root for her protagonists.
Truth be told I wouldn’t have listened to this if I’d realized how “young” this was (not the book’s fault). Still, this will please its target demographic: teens and young adults.
I have listened to Rebecca Lowman read “Landline”. She does a great job, although I will say that her voice sounds a bit melancholic. Sunil Malhotra, whom I’d never heard before was really good. He brought Park’s character to life, and even did Park’s Korean-accented mom pretty well.