Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is a book that took me completely by surprise. I had heard great things about it so when I had the opportunity to review the book I jumped at the chance. All I knew about the storyline was what I had read in the synopsis:
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?
The book sounded like a light-hearted adult contemporary with a few twists and turns. I was most definitely not expecting the range of emotions I experienced while reading it!
I was immediately sucked into the story, both because of the writing style – Honeyman’s writing is an absolute dream – and the main character, Eleanor. There is no waffle, no padding to the story. Every sentence, every word is carefully crafted and helps you understand Eleanor’s personality and world better.
Often in books I find myself frustrated when they drag on, or there’s whole paragraphs or even chapters that add nothing to the story. But Eleanor Oliphant was wonderful to read and I devoured it in a day.
Although this book touches on mental illness, the focus is on loneliness and the impact it has on someone who has no one – something that I haven’t really read a novel about before. Eleanor is a delight to read about – because of her social experience she finds herself in some awkward situations (not that they seem awkward to her!). The remarks she comes out with are golden and I really loved seeing her develop as she began to make friends and go to social events. I’m hardly a social butterfly and saw some of myself in her at times.
As well as seeing Eleanor grow throughout the book, you learn more about her history and the reasons why she is how she is.
The other characters in the book were also a delight. Just as with the writing, none of the characters were there as filler either. I also really liked each of them, which is a rarity with most books nowadays!
And then just as you think you know how the book is about to finish, of course there is a twist. But it’s a brilliant one and makes you see Eleanor’s story in a different light.
I hope there’s a sequel planned as I really want to know what happens next – I was gutted when the book finished! I’m also excited to learn that a movie is in the works, which was the first thing I checked once I’d finished the book. I’m not a big movie fan but I think it would be fantastic on the big screen!