reviews

Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman

I have a confession to make… I may have been sent a copy of this book at some point last year and I may have (read definitely) have forgotten about it. Ooops, my bad.
So then, its pretty lucky that Sanne over at Books and Quills did a video about the Costa Award’s short list and mentioned this book prompting me to remember I had the book, so let’s go!

Meet Eleanor Oliphant: She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy. All this means that Eleanor has become a creature of habit (to say the least) and a bit of a loner. 
But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become the kinds of friends who rescue one another from the lives of isolation they have each been living. And it is Raymond’s big heart that will ultimately help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one.
Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is the story of a quirky yet lonely woman whose social misunderstandings and deeply ingrained routines could be changed forever—if she can bear to confront the secrets she has avoided all her life. But if she does, she’ll learn that she, too, is capable of finding friendship—and even love—after all.

This was a bit of weird read for me, on the one hand, I raced through it because I really wanted Eleanor to be fine and I found her to be a pretty unique character, but there were also bits that didn’t really sit well with me.
As you might have guessed from the title, Eleanor Oliphant is not as fine as she thinks she is. For one, she appears to have a drinking problem (tw I guess) ((also its not really a plot point that is resolved properly.)) For another, she is a level of socially awkward I have never experienced before and I mean, I am not only socially awkward myself, but read a lot of YA and that pretty much always includes someone who is socially awkward. It’s kind of the law.
Anyway, I found Eleanor to be a very interesting MC. There were moments that I really related to and sympathised with her and of course I couldn’t help but smile over her musical crush – we’ve all been there! But so many of her mannerisms and the situations she finds herself in do stretch the reality a bit… The only way I can describe her is that she reminded me of an alien visiting Earth for the first time.

A lot of the reviews I’ve read on this described the book as being funny… I didn’t find it ‘funny’ it is a tragedy through and through. We have a 29 year old woman who is sad and alone and trying to fit in without understanding society in the slightest. There is also a tragic backstory that makes it all the more horrifying. This is a horrible book told in a light hearted, poignant way. I can completely understand why it got the attention of critics, it’s certainly very different to anything I’ve read in a long time. I don’t really know how I feel about this book… I think it’ll stay with me for a while but not necessarily because I enjoyed it… Has anyone else read this? Let me know your thoughts!

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3 thoughts on “Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine”

  1. Well, this sounds VERY interesting. I’ve been seeing a lot about this one lately (I think it got an award?) and I am all kinds of curious, and this review only makes me more so. Although, it sounds like this take is not the most pleasant reading experience!

    1. I don’t know if it won but it has been nominated for a couple of awards and it is well written I just wasn’t sure about it – I still don’t know if I liked it or not! It wasn’t a bad book but I didn’t really enjoy it that much… I think…

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