Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine Book Cover Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
Gail Honeyman
May 18, 2017

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?

It took me very few paragraphs of Eleanor Oliphant by Gail Honeyman to come to the conclusion that I was likely to enjoy it. Eleanor is such a good character. There is a thin illusion of normality with her however you quickly realise that this is far from the truth. The story feels powerful and understated. The reality of her isolation from the “normal” world becomes uncomfortably apparent.

Once I’d got over the initial feelings of discomfort about the way her life was I really did find this book ridiculously compelling reading. I do actually mean it when I use the word “ridiculously” too. The humour – her take on life – is simply so dry and funny at times. I have to say that rarely has a funeral been so amusing and sad at the same time for example. Eleanor is surviving – just – however it is only on the fringe of what most of us would call “normal life”.

I almost always take notes as I read books that I review however, with this one, I simply go so caught up in the writing the notes became rarer and rarer. The quality of the writing here is very good and used very effectively. The roller coaster that is Eleanor’s life plays out for us. At times we are spectators at a car crash, at times we shed tears – sometimes but not always of laughter. Eleanor is a wonderfully envisioned character. The other main character is Raymond who I also thought was very good indeed. The other people who appear in the book do the jobs they need to well. I loved this book and I want to read another one by Gail Honeyman.

Note – I received an advance digital copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair review