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Vladimir Nabokov, Craig Raine
Eleanor & Park - Rainbow Rowell On the surface there's nothing terribly wrong with the book. An unusual relationship starts up between two people who, at first, dislike each other but sit on the bus together every day. Then slowly, as comics are read and exchanged and these two misfits start to find some sort of common ground, their friendship (and eventually more) starts to form. Eleanor's very slow to trust Park due to the fact that she lives in a house with a cruel stepfather who is violent to everyone but especially her mother, and despite loving her siblings at times it is very much "every sibling for themselves". Now here is where my problem with the book starts. It's all on the surface. Which means that it seems very deep and emotional at first but as I thought more and more about it it started to seem very shallow to me. The way domestic violence was treated here was more of an obstacle to The Great Love Story between Eleanor and Park as well as a way to connect them further. It also felt like what I call an automatic tear-jerker, where the situation in a story is automatically so bad that there's not much exploration required to make the reader feel emotional. And that's not good enough for me. Not only that but a lot of the racial aspects of the book bothered me as it was very stereotypical.