Book Review

Book Review: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Contemporary fiction
Length: 327 pages
Author: Gail Honeyman
Publisher: Viking – Pamela Dorman Books
Release Date: May 9th, 2017
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

No one’s ever told Eleanor that life should be better than fine. 

Meet Eleanor Oliphant: She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy. 

But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become the kinds of friends who rescue one another from the lives of isolation they have each been living. And it is Raymond’s big heart that will ultimately help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one.

Soon to be a major motion picture produced by Reese Witherspoon, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is the smart, warm, and uplifting story of an out-of-the-ordinary heroine whose deadpan weirdness and unconscious wit make for an irresistible journey as she realizes. . . 

The only way to survive is to open your heart.

I’M FINE.

I wasn’t sure what kind of book I was diving into when I picked this up. Just that Reese Witherspoon had it in her book club, so I should read it too (I love her y’all).

It was different than I imagined, and I had a hard time getting into it. I still was invested and finished the book and liked it overall.

The biggest meaning of Eleanor was the struggle that is, mental health. This was hard to read at times as Eleanor had to first, deny then confront her demons head-on. I thought the author approached this really well. I had a lot of empathy for her and so deeply understood how the past can try to hold you back.

Her personality was directly affected by all that she had locked away in her mind. The quirks she had (such as talking so formally and maybe a touch too blunt at times) made her, her. I thought she was clever and funny in her own right.

One of my favorite portions was that there was no romance. Yes, maybe a hint in the future at the very end, but that was not the point of the book. Raymond was the friend Eleanor needed and I LOVED IT. He was kind, caring, and understanding in so many ways. I adored watching their friendship blossom and seeing Eleanor open up to what a good relationship looks like in her life.

I also want to give a special shout-out to Eleanor’s boss. Whenever she had to take time off of work for her mental health she wasn’t resented for it. He made sure she took her time and came back when SHE was ready. This seriously needs to be a world wide example.

I felt like the book was missing something. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but it honestly might be for the fact this isn’t my usual genre. I was missing the portions I generally seek out in reading in this book. I still appreciated Eleanor Oliphant as a whole and enjoyed the story.

Overall audience notes:

  • Adult contemporary fiction
  • Language: a few strong words
  • Romance: none
  • Trigger warnings: domestic abuse, verbal/emotional abuse, discussion of suicide, alcoholism, depression, mentions of rape, animal abuse, survivor’s guilt

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