Eleanor and Park face many challenges in their developing relationship, but for them it was always worth it. Would they be accepted into the social click on the bus? Would the popular kids try and become involved in their relationship? All this was determined little by little as the book continued through their constant struggles as individuals, and most importantly the affects on them as a couple. Seeing past their differences in the beginning was extremely tough for these characters, but by the end they became more intrigued by each others differences then having any concerns as to what other people thought of their relationship. Is love easy? No, but for them nothing was more important, then feeling close to one another. No matter what sacrifices they needed to make as a couple or for one another as an individual, they would make them.
The first day at school is never easy for anyone, but for Eleanor it seemed impossible to get a breath of fresh air. Getting onto a bus can be one of the most intimidating things any teenager has to do, but for Eleanor it was a different story. She felt a whirl of emotions when she stepped onto the bus, but the moment a young man barked at her, “Sit down, ‘ he said. It came out angrily” (Rowell 9). she almost felt a sense of relief. Though this wasn’t a nice gesture, Eleanor graciously sat trying not be eyed by the other kids on the bus anymore. This was an important factor in the development of Eleanor and Park’s relationship, though it didn’t seem like it would lead to much by the tone Park has, it was the start of the unique relationship. As the bus rides continued each day, the development of Park and Eleanor’s relationship will be sure to keep the readers on the edge of their seat.
As the weeks went on, the bus ride became something the two of them look forward to get to have each day. The more you advance in the book the more readers begin to see the important changes in the development of their relationship. “She was looking at his comic- he could see her eyes moving” (Rowell 33). This part of the book was essential to the growth of their relationship because Park starts to make little gestures that shows he recognizes Eleanor for something other than being “big red,” which is what the “popular kids” on the bus called her. The small gestures Park continues to makes towards Eleanor takes their relationship to a whole different level. Before these gestures, Eleanor was just a girl he almost pitied, but soon the readers realize she is going to be something more to Park.
Park never thought he could like the girl on the bus the kids referred to as “big red”, but things were changing for him. “When Park got on the bus, he set the comics and Smiths tape on the seat next to him, so they’d just be waiting for her” (Rowell 51). Park was making more friendly gestures towards Eleanor, so he could show his interest towards her. Park begins to crave Eleanor’s attention. He begins making more gestures towards Eleanor that shortly after takes them to a whole new level. As the book goes on, Eleanor and Park start to develop real feelings for each other. As these feeling progress they start to care for one another more than anything else around them. This included those who were watching them wherever they were. The bus rides became the best things that could have happened to Eleanor and Park because it allowed them to further their relationship and begin to progress to a relationship outside the bus. Eleanor couldn’t stand the moments that her and Park weren’t together and Park definitely felt the same way.
As the school year continues, the feelings the two have for each other just seem to progress. They become in tune with what the other is feeling and begin to “fall in love.” As the book progresses you see that the couple makes huge leaps in what one would say, the right direction. Park begins to see Eleanor, not just on the bus, but at his own house where they can get away from the prying eyes of the other kids. Their feelings began to deepen and hanging out after school becomes a normal routine. Day in and day out the two look forward to being able to get to walk home alone together. Park then decides to make another big move by having Eleanor meet all his family and stay for dinner. Though his mother did not react the way Park had hoped, he never lost sight in how much he cared for Eleanor. He continued to have her come home with him each day, cherishing their walk home and getting to spend time together alone. He continuously makes motions towards her which continuously advances their relationship. At some points, it seems the couple take a few steps back, but only to recover by taking multiple leaps forward.
The most crucial part of the book, is the part where most readers agree to be unexpected. This is the ultimate test on the relationship of this couple. There was no more flirting, or just sitting flipping through different genres of music. Things developed into a serious matter in a blink of an eye. Eleanor must run away, not just for a few days or weeks, but for good. Was Park going to be willing to help her, by putting his strong feelings for her aside? Eleanor needed out of Omaha, Nebraska tonight. As they drive to Eleanor’s “safe place” they express how much they care for one another and how they will keep in touch. Little did Park know how difficult this would be for Eleanor. Did everything the couple dreamed of get swept away? Would they remain together? As time went on Park begins to lose faith in their relationship, but much to everyone’s surprise he gets an important post card. The postcard read “Just three words long” (Rowell 325). The author leaves the book at this note to let the reader make the assumption he or she wants of the book. From reading the book, most will believe the relationship advanced so much to this point that they held onto the relationship and found a way to make it work. Their development of their relationship was vital to make a great storyline for the book.
The development for Eleanor and Park’s relationship was a complete rollercoaster. At times, you would lose faith that the couple could ever have a consistent relationship. As a reader, you begin to believe that this couple was just young and in love and would never work out, but as you go on you realize the constant progress they make. Eleanor and Park never had an easy relationship, but what they did do is entrust in one another, and allow themselves to fall in love. This book was a wonderful read, to understand that love is not always easy, but for them it was more than worth it. Sometimes love throws you curve balls, but if you don’t lose faith, it is surely worth it.
Rowell, Rainbow. “Eleanor & Park.” Barnes & Noble. N.p., 26 Feb. 2013.Web. 29 Nov. 2016.