Review: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman

Eleanor Oliphant CoverSynopsis:  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.

Title: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
Author: Gail Honeyman
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pub Date: 9th May 2017
Pages: 386
ISBN: 9780008172114

Rating:

“In the end, what matters is this: I survived.”

There are some books that you will immediately fall in love with. Others, you will instantly hate. But there are a few that will grow on you; that you’ll continue with either because you see potential or you feel pressured to complete, but it will be worth it at the end.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine was one of those books. After the initial hype on social media, I borrowed the book from a friend who read it and loved it.

Suddenly, the pressure was on to love it too. And I did, eventually, but not initially. I couldn’t connect to the protagonist enough to be interested in her story. In isolation, her quirks were unrealistic. But then we met Raymond and everything changed.

 “When the silence and the aloneness press down and around me, crushing me, carving through me like ice, I need to speak aloud sometimes, if only for proof of life.”

Raymond brought the story to life for me. More importantly, he brought Eleanor’s character to life. The quirks that came across as stunted and overworked in isolation became colourful and full of life in relation to another character.

“If someone asks you how you are, you are meant to say FINE. You are not meant to say that you cried yourself to sleep last night because you hadn’t spoken to another person for two consecutive days. FINE is what you say.”

By the end, I was glad I struggled through, even though numerous people told me to give up. This book is uplifting and full of wit – you just have to keep going till you meet Raymond for it to really take off.

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