Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, Gail Honeyman, Harper Collins 2017

May 19, 2018 at 11:10 am | Posted in Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, Great for Book Clubs, Middle Weight Fiction, Popular Fiction | 5 Comments
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ELeanor image

What a trip is Eleanor Oliphant!

How odd and wonderful this heroine is and how perfectly perfect in her oddity she lives. As the title says Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine as she just survives the world, keeping her life small, neat, uncomplicated, quiet and private.  Eleanor lives alone, does her work in a busy office Monday – Friday without social interaction with colleagues and without breaking any rules. She buys a margarita pizza every Friday from M&S along with two large bottles of vodka for the weekend which she drinks alone steadily until Monday morning arrives. Her doorbell rarely rings in her flat and Eleanor has not ‘voluntarily invited another human being across the threshold, except to read the meter’.

Travelling the road with Eleanor it feels evident quickly that Eleanor has crafted her life in this way as an effort to keep her hurt of some very dark past trauma deeply buried and to protect herself from any potential future hurt.

Eleanor has a degree in classics, is exceptionally well spoken and eloquent but can’t read social cues very well which makes fitting in socially difficult. Eleanor serendipitously makes a new friend whose kindness is transformative for Eleanor. The novel takes on an almost moral fable style fabric when Eleanor’s new friend appears and his small acts of kindness, the kind we ourselves may not even notice or discount on a daily basis, shower Eleanor with the strength that only true kindness brings to help her start to face her very painful past and plan for her future.

I wish I could read this book again afresh such a privilege it is to know Eleanor Oliphant.

The book in haiku: not to know yourself, means just to survive in life, and not to know life

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5 Comments »

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  1. This is a wonderfully comprehensive and insightful review of an excellent book. Welcome back Sarah your reviews and recommendations have been greatly missed. I really enjoyed this book, and reading this review makes me want to dip into it again, to rediscover many of your observations, and aspects that Sarah has pointed out. Lovely Haiku! If you enjoy this book, and you cannot fail to enjoy this book, I can also recommend The Seven Imperfect Rules of Elvira Carr.

  2. Welcome back! This is a really great review, it made me want to read the book

  3. I can’t wait to read it now Sarah. You made it sound so enticing.

  4. I missed your beautifully written reviews. This book is a definite read for the summer.


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