I gave Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman, 5/5 stars. Here’s my review.
Author: Gail Honeyman
Published: May 9, 2017
In Brief: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman, is a story about strangers, kindness, and the power of friendship. Eleanor is a curmudgeonly loner without any friends, but that’s ok. Her life is perfectly adequate, her basic needs are met, she’s getting along just fine. Or is she?
Eleanor Oliphant’s carefully regimented life is strategically planned to ensure her basic needs are met without undue effort and social interactions are kept to a minimum. She fills her free time with crosswords, books, listening to the BBC radio soap opera The Archers, and caring for her houseplant named Polly. Weekends are often spent entirely alone, with the only human interaction being with the clerk at Tesco Metro where she buys her weekly pizza and vodka.
The people around Eleanor take notice of her quirks and strange mannerisms and often interpret her curt demeanor as intentional rudeness. Eleanor is not accustomed to kindness. She is more familiar with odd looks, sarcastic remarks, and snide utterances (and worse).
But Eleanor isn’t just a bit different. On the inside, she’s anxious, lonely, and heartbreakingly self-loathing. Having suffered inconceivable trauma as a child before entering the foster care system, Eleanor has no real experience with love and acceptance. So when she unexpectedly enters a friendship with Raymond, the scruffy and unrefined IT guy from her office, it takes her a while to recognize that their relationship is indeed a friendship. And as Eleanor’s predictable and orderly life takes an unexpected turn, Raymond’s kind and open heart help her own heart begin to heal.
Eleanor may seem fine on the outside, but as her story is revealed we learn she’s not quite as fine as she/we thought. And we learn how a little bit of kindness and sincere friendship can literally save a life.
My Rating & Review
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” If ever there was a novel to illustrate that quote, this is it. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is unexpected and unforgettable. Equally heartbreaking and heartwarming, this wonderfully written novel about the powers of loneliness and friendship is one of the best I’ve read in years.
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