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Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman #bookreview

About Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

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?

My review of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is a book, that once read, is never forgotten. This book really touched me, it is about the kindness of strangers, the fact that life is for living and that we are all equal and deserving of love. At first glance you might be fooled into thinking that this is a kind of light, romantic read about a slightly quirky female in her early thirties, but you would be wrong. This book has incredibly deep roots. It makes you question what life is all about and our relationship with others. I loved this deeply dark and bittersweet tale.

When we first meet Eleanor, she is living her life to a strict structure doing the same things, day in, day out. Her social skills are somewhat lacking, and I did wonder if she had Asperger's syndrome, doe to her routines, lack of social awareness, special interests and difficulty with communicating with others. But as the book progressed as I was not sure if this was the case. I began to think that Eleanor had built a kind of self inflicted prison around herself, due to her upbringing and past circumstances. In essence she had chosen to isolate herself, believing that she was not worthy of love or even friendship.

On paper this novel should read as a sad and slightly quirky story. A woman who eats alone, has no friends and who drinks a couple of bottles of vodka every weekend. But surprisingly this book is incredibly upbeat, inspiring and full of hope. This is due to a few factors. For starters the dialogue is fast, sharp and witty, and I found Eleanor hilarious. This is a woman who says things as she finds them, there is no filter (another reason I thought she might be on the autistic spectrum) and I loved this about her. You get the unvarnished truth from  her. This is one of the reasons that Eleanor does not have many friends, as she seems different, unapproachable, her colleagues do not know what to make of her. But, for me, her dialogue and ways of seeing the world were completely refreshing and I loved this aspect of her character.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is also rooted in normality. I loved the array of characters that Eleanor meets, the new IT guy at the office, Raymond, who becomes a friend, and the various other characters that she meets because of the 'one act of kindness' that changes everything. For me the interaction between her and Raymond is charming and poignant. Their dialogue is natural, almost raw, and I found myself willing their next interaction to see how their friendship would blossom.

This book is a dark, and at times, disturbing read. It does deal with some fairly serious issues including abuse and depression. But all of these issues are not in the novel to sensationalise, but rather to add depth and understanding to the characters, they are integral to the story, they are a part of Eleanor. But as I have already said, these issue for me did not dampen the fact that this book is incredibly uplifting and hopeful. It gave me the feeling that thee is good out there, and that there is a special someone for everyone.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is a fresh, original and inspiring book about a woman who is afraid of change and who is chained to her past. But, with the help of others and by being brave, Eleanor learns that life is more than being 'fine'.

With thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an Advanced Reader Copy.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is published by HarperCollins on 18 May 2017. It can be found d on Amazon here.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds fascinating and I shall definitely add to my TBR - thanks! :-D