Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine
Romance/ Psychological Fiction
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Eleanor Oliphant is about to turn 30, lives in Glasgow, drinks vodka every weekend, has worked in the same office for nine years and is perfectly capable of living her life, thank you very much.
Eleanor has lived her life her way. Socially awkward, she leads a solitary life, without a thought for her appearance, her bluntness or her work colleagues jibes toward her.
That is, until a series of events unfold around Eleanor that challenge her very way of life.
After discovering the love of her life, Eleanor begins questioning everything about herself – what she wears, how she acts and what she says. She makes an unlikely friend in (the deeply unhygienic) IT guy from her office – Raymond, helps out a complete stranger and navigates her way through manicures, bikini waxes and hair cuts in an attempt to find her place in the world.
However, as we get to know Eleanor, we begin to unravel the ‘method behind the madness’ and soon come to realise that Eleanor may not, in fact, be completely fine. Little by little, the author shares details of Eleanor’s past, which shed light on why she is the way that she is.
My initial reaction when I began reading this book was that there was an ocean of difference between myself and Eleanor. She was a complete social outcast with clear, unresolved issues from her past that she either wasn’t willing to acknowledge, or didn’t realise she even had.
Yet as I read on, I soon began to realise that the author (Gail Honeyman) was slowly showing me that Eleanor wasn’t so unlike the rest of us at all. The task of connecting the reader with a completely at-odds character was done amazingly well by the author.
Eleanor may be odd, eccentric and everything in between, but she is also quick-witted, knows what she wants and strong-willed about getting it. She says it how it is, and there were many moments throughout the book where I laughed out loud. One example of the type of narration you will expect from Eleanor is:
‘I think that it is perfectly normal to talk to oneself occasionally. It’s not as though I’m expecting a reply. I’m fully aware that Polly is a houseplant.’
By the end of the novel, I realised I had come to see Eleanor in a different light, crying for her losses and cheering for her small wins. The novel is well written and evokes a roller-coaster of emotions.
This truly is an excellent book, with a clear message of hope and resilience.