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Islington Branch Book Club - Past Titles: "Eleanor and Park" by Rainbow Rowell

Take a look through previous titles we've discussed at our Islington Branch Book Club

"Eleanor and Park" by Rainbow Rowell

  1. Character Exploration:

    • How do Eleanor and Park's personalities complement each other? In what ways are they similar, and how do their differences create tension in their relationship?
    • Discuss the character development of Eleanor throughout the novel. What challenges does she face, and how does she cope with them?
    • Park undergoes his own journey of self-discovery. What pivotal moments contribute to his growth as a character?
  2. Family Dynamics:

    • Analyze the family dynamics in both Eleanor's and Park's households. How do their family backgrounds influence their perspectives and actions?
    • How do Eleanor and Park navigate the challenges posed by their families? What role does family play in shaping their identities?
  3. Themes of Love and Belonging:

    • Explore the theme of love in the novel. How does Rowell depict different forms of love, such as familial love, romantic love, and friendship?
    • Discuss the concept of belonging as it relates to Eleanor and Park. How do they each seek a sense of belonging, and how does their relationship fulfill this need?
  4. Social Issues:

    • The novel addresses various social issues, including bullying, domestic abuse, poverty, and racism. How are these issues portrayed, and what impact do they have on the characters' lives?
    • How do Eleanor and Park confront societal expectations and prejudices, both individually and as a couple?
  5. Narrative Style and Structure:

    • Rowell employs dual perspectives, alternating between Eleanor's and Park's points of view. How does this narrative technique enhance your understanding of the characters and their relationship?
    • What is the significance of the novel's setting in the 1980s? How does the historical context contribute to the story?
  6. Ending and Resolution:

    • Discuss your thoughts on the ending of the novel. Did it meet your expectations? How did you interpret the resolution of Eleanor and Park's story?
    • Consider the novel's open-ended conclusion. What do you imagine the future holds for Eleanor and Park?
  7. Personal Reflection:

    • How did reading "Eleanor and Park" affect your emotions and perspective on young love and relationships?
    • Reflect on any parallels you see between the experiences of the characters in the novel and your own experiences or observations.

Rainbow Rowell, born on February 24, 1973, in Omaha, Nebraska, is an American author known for her heartfelt and character-driven young adult and adult fiction. Raised in Nebraska, Rowell developed a love for reading and writing from a young age, often spending her time immersed in books and creating her own stories.

After completing her education, Rowell pursued a career in journalism, working as a newspaper columnist and advertising copywriter for several years. During this time, she honed her writing skills and developed a keen understanding of storytelling and character development.

In 2011, Rowell's literary career took off with the publication of her debut novel, "Attachments," a contemporary romance set in a workplace environment. The novel received critical acclaim for its witty dialogue, relatable characters, and unconventional narrative structure.

Rowell gained widespread recognition and a devoted fan base with the release of her second novel, "Eleanor & Park," in 2013. The novel tells the poignant story of two misfit teenagers who form a deep bond over their shared love of music and comic books. "Eleanor & Park" received numerous awards and nominations, including the Michael L. Printz Honor for Excellence in Young Adult Literature.

Continuing her success in the young adult genre, Rowell went on to publish several more highly acclaimed novels, including "Fangirl" (2013), which explores themes of fandom, family, and identity through the eyes of an introverted college freshman, and "Carry On" (2015), a fantasy novel inspired by the fictional world introduced in "Fangirl."

In addition to her young adult fiction, Rowell has also ventured into adult fiction with novels such as "Landline" (2014), a contemporary romance with a touch of magical realism, and "Attachments" (2019), a humorous and heartfelt story about love and connection in the digital age.

Throughout her career, Rainbow Rowell has been praised for her authentic characterizations, emotionally resonant storytelling, and ability to capture the complexities of human relationships. With her engaging narratives and relatable characters, she continues to captivate readers of all ages around the world.


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