Review: Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
5 of 5 stars
No one’s ever told Eleanor that life should be better than fine
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 unnecessary human contact, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy.
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, the three rescue one another from the lives of isolation that they had been living. Ultimately, it is Raymond’s big heart that will help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one. If she does, she’ll learn that she, too, is capable of finding friendship—and even love—after all.
Smart, warm, uplifting, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is the story of an out-of-the-ordinary heroine whose deadpan weirdness and unconscious wit make for an irresistible journey as she realizes…
the only way to survive is to open your heart.
One of only two five star reviews I’ve given so far (this year)!
It’s only after I finished reading this book that I realized how polarizing the views on this book were. I also didn’t know it was kind of a big deal, love or loathe sort of book. This, thankfully, meant that I went in with minimal expectations and had no idea what the story was going to be about.
This was a lovely bit of luck and I think I should read more books without knowing anything about the plot or characters. I hadn’t even read the blurb! Anyway, back to the love-hate bit, I’m firmly in camp love.
Eleanor is such a great character, I adored her. Her thought process led to some reactions and thoughts about situations – social and otherwise – that didn’t fit the usually accepted standards. However, when we read her thought process about the same, it seemed to make perfect sense and I could see why she felt that way. According to her internal logic, she was right and everyone else was a tad off. I can’t say I disagree with her on all the points either! Some things that we do and are socially acceptable, don’t really make sense if we go down to the root of what is happening, but I digress.
The fact that she repeatedly pointed out that other people had no idea of social etiquette and how to behave / communicate was thrown into sharp relief and made for wonderful contrast with her actual behavior. Oh, and her language and grammar was on point too! I learnt a few new words, and I love that.
I’ve been going on about Eleanor and not so much about the plot. This is because the story is, in my opinion, very much character-centric. The plot is pretty good too, no doubt, but I would read any plot about a beautiful character, and Eleanor is one if there ever was.
I won’t go into the plot very much, but it is detail-oriented and engaging. But for me the best part of this book was Eleanor and her personality. I’ll definitely be re-reading this some day. I obviously already know the plot, but Eleanor will be a joy to revisit.
Also, I will read anything – anything at all! – that Honeyman chooses to write in the future.