BOOK REVIEW - Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
Updated: Nov 15, 2019
What the back says...
Eleanor Oliphant leads a simple life
She wears the same clothes to work every day, eats the same meal deal for lunch every day and buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink every weekend.
Eleanor Oliphant is happy. Nothing is missing from her carefully timetabled existence. Except, sometimes, everything...
So, it's been no secret that I have suffered quite a major reading slump recently but one book did the trick and pulled me out. Now, I know I am late to the party with this, quite a few of my friends had already read this book before it became my emergency newsagents buy while I was waiting for my son to choose a magazine! But I am so glad I did, I adored this book.
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is one of those books that you just weren't expecting and I kick myself that I waited so long to read it. The author, Gail Honeyman, created such a beautiful, funny, damaged character that I couldn't help but want the absolute best for her. I read this book in one evening, I just couldn't put it down. I needed to see that everything worked out in the end.
The story's main character is Eleanor, and from the first few pages you pick up that she is slightly different from everyone else. As you make your way through the chapters it is clear that this is someone with a backstory, someone that has been through something that most of us probably wouldn't understand. We follow her story from her point of few, viewing her work life and fitting in with work colleagues to her home life and the loneliness that goes with it. Although the portrayal has it's humorous moments, there are some instances where your heart just breaks for how she is feeling or for what is happening to her. There were times when I was almost shouting at the pages, 'please don't do that, it's not worth it'.
I loved how the author weaved humour throughout what could have been quite a dark story. The underlying themes of sadness, neglect and loneliness are balanced with instances of scary bikini waxes and over zealous manicures. The highlight of the book for me was the building of friendships, of someone learning to interact and rely on someone. To get out there and socialise with people and form new relationships. The blunt honestly of Eleanor's character, someone that will actually say what she means rather than saying one thing but meaning something else was a refreshing change. And while we are reading and seeing these changes to her, relishing these new friendships she is making, really willing her on to change her life, the author throws in the dark times. The moment she hits rock bottom and what lead her to be how she is, it was all so well written and made the story totally unputdownable. Then we are back to this friendship that had slowly been building throughout the book creating a beautiful end to the story. I hope I am not alone in wanting to find out what happens next in the life of Eleanor Oliphant, I would definitely welcome a sequel to this amazing story.
This was one of those books that had me thinking about the story long after I had finished it. Eleanor could be anybody that works in your office, local supermarket or who lives in your street. That person that you think to yourself comes across as slightly odd or that you may laugh at for the slightly off things that they do, but this book reminds you that everyone has their story and you never know what is going on with someone just by looking at them.
I'm aware that I haven't really given much away with regards the actual story of this book - no spoilers - but I urge you, if you haven't read it already then please do. I haven't had a book affect me as much as this in a long time, please pick it up for a read.