Book Review: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Penguin Group LLC (May 9, 2017)

331 Pages

Women’s Fiction/Humorous Literary Fiction/Single Women Fiction


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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 social interactions, 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 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.

Soon to be a major motion picture produced by Reese Witherspoon, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is the smart, warm, and uplifting 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. 

“Beautifully written and incredibly funny, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is about the importance of friendship and human connection. I fell in love with Eleanor, an eccentric and regimented loner whose life beautifully unfolds after a chance encounter with a stranger; I think you will fall in love, too!”

 —Reese Witherspoon

 

REVIEW

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is a book about a lonely, social awkward woman who is quirky, judgmental, does her own thing and doesn’t care about social expectations. She grew up with neglect, violence & emotional abuse. While it’s a dark story centered around loneliness and the effects of childhood trauma (which is not detailed), there is hope and growth in this book. Eleanor is so literal, she’s funny. She has no filter, is opinionated, and says things out loud that most people wouldn’t dream of saying. I personally think everyone needs a least one quirky person in their life. One of the turning points for Eleanor is coworker, Raymond, who doesn’t judge her, he takes her as she is, and lets her be herself, quirks and all. He’s her first ever friend and they’re good for each other.  It was a bit hard to get into the story and I almost gave up on it. It was my book club pick for May so I gave another go. I really go into it just before the halfway point. Eleanor lives alone, works with people she has nothing in common with and has a routine (work all week, buy a supermarket pizza and bottles of vodka on Friday, spend the weekend alone and drunk waiting for Monday).

“There are scars on my heart, just as thick, as disfiguring as those on my face. I know they’re there. I hope some undamaged tissue remains, a patch through which love can come in and flow out. I hope.”

– Eleanor Oliphant

The above line broke my heart. Eleanor is hysterical but also a tragic character. She’s a strong individual though. She recognizes that something about her just didn’t fit in anywhere. She never had anyone that understood her, who loved her, took care of her, valued her. She is a character that took me a bit to warm up to but then I was captivated by her story. An eccentric character that will linger long after you’ve read the last page.

Reviewed by Comfy Chair Books/Lisa Reigel (May 12, 2020)

Bought from a local used bookstore during COVID-19 – supporting small businesses

May 2020 local book club pick

QUOTES

  • “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.”
    ― Gail Honeyman, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine

 

  • “No thank you,” I said. “I don’t want to accept a drink from you, because then I would be obliged to purchase one for you in return, and I’m afraid I’m simply not interested in spending two drinks’ worth of time with you.”
    ― Gail Honeyman, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine

 

  • “I steeled myself as best I could, and, with teeth gritted, using only one finger I typed:

    C U there E.

    I sat back, feeling a bit queasy. Illiterate communication was quicker, that was true, but not by much. I’d saved myself the trouble of typing four whole characters. Still, it was part of my new credo, trying new things. I’d tried it, and I very definitely did not like it. LOL could go and take a running jump. I wasn’t made for illiteracy; it simply didn’t come naturally. Although it’s good to try new things and to keep an open mind, it’s also extremely important to stay true to who you really are. I read that in a magazine at the hairdressers.”
    ― Gail Honeyman, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

HoneymanGail Honeyman wrote her debut novel, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, while working a full-time job, and it was shortlisted for the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize as a work in progress. She has also been awarded the Scottish Book Trust’s Next Chapter Award 2014, was longlisted for BBC Radio 4’s Opening Lines, and was shortlisted for the Bridport Prize. She lives in Glasgow.

@GailHoneyman

#BookClubReads #QuirkyRead #booksofinstagram #literary #eleanoroliphantiscompletelyfine #gailhoneyman #GailHoneyman

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2 thoughts on “Book Review: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

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