Book Review: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Smart, warm, uplifting, 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 her heart

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.

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‘Oh dear Eleanor, why have I waited for so long to meet you.’ That was probably my first thought after I’ve finished this amazingly written book.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, only just, she really isn’t. Her lovable awkwardness and strict rules she needs to follow, the way she speaks and even simple interactions with people with over polite manner are all only glimpses of who she really is and how she is really doing.

Eleanor seems like very antisocial person that likes to keep things and all time to herself, follows schedule in her life and seems to be doing fine despite the fact she doesn’t have family (apart from not very pleasant Mummy she speaks to once a week) and friends (apart from plant she treats like a person and tells things about her day). She doesn’t seem to miss it, doesn’t seem to care and enjoys time spent alone with bottle of vodka, preferably, that helps her sleep.

One day, when technology fails and she requests assistance from IT guy in her office, who is total opposite of people she would find anything in common with but for whatever reason, their paths seem to cross until they start actually enjoying each others company and become ‘something like’ friends. Not that Eleanor needs a friend, she is fine!

Socializing with people is not really her idea of time well spent but Eleanor tries to change her ways and is ready to also change the way she looks for a musician she only met at the concert. She decides, he is the man she will spend the rest of her life with, have family with, gets married to. Until one day she realizes, it doesn’t work like it. It’s not the real love and her life falls apart. Eleanor is not fine and needs someone to help her and her new friend is there to pull her out from rock bottom and help her face the facts from her past to find the better future. Two unlike people become dependent on each other company and create something that goes beyond friendship or love.

Beautifully written story of Eleanor’s life. Author created this very lovable character, honest and direct (which is very rare in people nowadays), full of little quirks that create the perfect image for a reader and let you connect with the character even more. I would love to be Eleanor’s friend as she is not only entertaining in her own way, she is a person that although it takes time get to, she won’t let you go after. She will become a true friend forever.

I’m not sure why I haven’t read this book until now but I am keeping my eyes open from now on and hopefully new book by Gail Honeyman is coming soon as her writing is addictive to read.

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About Gail Honeyman

14558709Gail 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.

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