At first, I wasn’t really sure what to make of Eleanor Oliphant, I mean the way in which she speaks and thinks is more than a little unusual, but by the end of the book I think that she had a little piece of my heart that will stay Oliphant shaped for quite some time to come.
Eleanor is an incredibly lonely person, she goes to work and drinks too much on the weekends to make the time go faster so that she can go back to work and have something to do. She thinks that her colleagues hate her and spend a lot of their time laughing at her. She has no friends, only her mother who she speaks to on the phone once a week. Which for Eleanor is still too often. Despite all of this, Eleanor thinks that she is happy, she doesn’t feel the need for people in her life, she’s self-sufficient and happy with that. I have to admit that I really empathised with Eleanor, as an introvert I think that Eleanor and I have more than a few things in common.
When Eleanor meets the man of her dreams she thinks that life is going to be getting a lot better. She starts to pay attention to her appearance and to what she’s wearing for the first time, and begins to see and experience things differently. She also finds herself spending time with Raymond, the IT guy from work, he gradually gets Eleanor to open up and they become friends, something new and alien to Eleanor.
When the love of her life turns out to be a lot less perfect that she’d thought, Eleanor plunges into a destructive depression. But with the support of her new friend, and a very supportive boss, Eleanor starts to put her life back together. I couldn’t help but cheer her on, and even feel proud of this fictional character whose funny way of speaking and thinking now felt endearing.
As the book goes on the story behind Eleanor and why she is how she is becomes clear, I think that the reader can’t help but feel sorry for her, but as the book progresses I felt a sense of respect for Eleanor, that she’d survived so much and yet here she was, coming out the other side.
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is a wonderful book that will hopefully make people think about the people that they know, how much they really know about them, and what struggles they might have that you know nothing about. Loneliness is becoming more and more of a problem in our society, and this book is a wonderful example of how dangerous and destructive it can be. With a debut novel this good, Gail Honeyman is definitely an author to watch!
Thank you to the publisher, Harper Collins UK, for a copy of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman via Netgalley.
Eleanor Oliphant has learned how to survive – but not how to live
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 life. Except, sometimes, everything.
One simple act of kindness is about to shatter the walls Eleanor has built around herself. Now she must learn how to navigate the world that everyone else seems to take for granted – while searching for the courage to face the dark corners she’s avoided all her life.
Change can be good. Change can be bad. But surely any change is better than… fine?
About the Author:
Gail 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, and was longlisted for BBC Radio 4’s Opening Lines, and shortlisted for the Bridport Prize. Gail lives in Glasgow.