Saturday, 5 May 2018

Book Review: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine. She goes home on a Friday and doesn’t speak to anyone until she goes back into work on Monday. She has her weekly phone calls with Mummy and is perfectly happy with the lack of social interaction in her life. Unless maybe she isn’t.

“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.”

Is it strange that my first thought is to liken Eleanor Oliphant to Larry David in Curb Your Enthusiasm?? And by that I am referring to her hilarious social commentary. She says what she thinks and comments on those social conventions that she finds a bit…strange. And I love her for that alone!

I just needed to get that thought out of the way first. This is in no way the usual genre of book I read these days, but ever since September last year I have been asking some of my bookstagram friends to choose a book for me to read each month and this was my friend Madalina’s choice. And I’m really glad she chose it, because who knows if I would have picked it up otherwise! This was an emotional rollercoaster, I was laughing out loud one minute and then the next I was almost feeling a physical pain in my heart from being SO SAD. It’s almost a 400-page book and I flew through it in a matter of days. Once Eleanor carves her way into your heart, it’s hard to put the damn book down.

Admittedly it can be difficult to form any sort of endearment for Eleanor at first, she comes across as a bit rude and arrogant. But as you get to know her better and understand her past, as well as her mental illness, you do feel really sorry for her. And then she meets Raymond and my heart swells up with so much love for their friendship. Those times when Eleanor expresses surprise and is incredulous that anyone would want to spend time with her or do nice things for her… MY HEART.

This is just a lovely book that will help restore your faith in humanity and the goodness of people. It might also make you think a little differently about how you treat others, because we never know what struggles those around us are trying to deal with. A little kindness and reaching out to someone in need can go a long way.

I’m not giving this one 5 stars, because it wasn’t the perfect book for me, a little something was missing and yet I can’t pinpoint exactly what. Sometimes I got the impression Eleanor was perhaps autistic? Yet this was never confirmed and it confused me a little. But trust me when I say this is worth the read and it will make you feel things! Even if you have a black heart like myself. 4 stars out of 5!


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