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Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine

by Gail Honeyman

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman X
Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
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  • First Published:
    May 2017, 336 pages

    Jun 2018, 352 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Francesca Baker
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There are currently 8 reader reviews for Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine
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n.a. messman

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
I loved Eleanor's quirky personality and seeing the world through her lens. Honeyman is able to reveal Eleanor's back story in small slices until a very curious person emerges with unresolved issues. Eleanor learns to trust and grow after meeting a fellow worker Raymond who shows her what it's like to have a true friend.

The unique climax was artfully built with some clues along the way. Thoroughly enjoyed this read!
Brenda M.

Unusual protagonist - worth the read!
“These days, loneliness is the new cancer – a shameful, embarrassing thing, brought upon yourself in some obscure way. A fearful, incurable thing, so horrifying that you dare not mention it; other people don’t want to hear the word spoken aloud for fear that they might too be afflicted.”

“If someone asks you how you are, you are meant to say FINE. You are not meant to say that you cried yourself to sleep last night …”

At first, Eleanor Oliphant seemed to be similar to The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion in that the story focused on a socially awkward person seeking love. However, it was so much more than that and very definitely worth the read.
This novel focused on the themes of loneliness, particularly in the younger generation, social awkwardness, acceptance from others and of oneself, healing, and taking healthy risks. Prior to the start of the novel, Eleanor Oliphant had a horrific childhood and difficult adolescence. She was still dealing with those implications and fallout when the novel began.

This story is dark, funny, and ultimately endearing. Eleanor is a complex, deep, and well-crafted character. The traumatic events that happened to her, how she internalized them, and people’s reactions to her were dark and difficult to read. However, Eleanor is a plucky character and her actions, opinions, and how she faced the world made me laugh out loud numerous times throughout the story. I can’t imagine finishing this book and not loving Eleanor. She is a very unusual protagonist!

I wish this novel had been a book club read for me, as there is so much fodder for discussion here. I particularly liked how multi-layered the title of this novel was. There are so many ways to interpret it in light of the story. I loved Eleanor’s observations about life, particularly about what it takes to socially fit-in and how that is so different between men and women. The way Eleanor gradually opens up to other people and life itself was also fascinating. I highly recommend this book and was very glad I read it.

5 Star Character Development
A little slow for me at first, but as soon as I had mustered through the first few chapters I knew I was in deep into another novel I would not be able to stop reading until the end. Though dark, Eleanor Oliphant's character surprised me as being insanely and naturally funny. Though notably oblivious to her comical charm, which made it all the better, she has much like her readers some challenging issues to overcome. I am a tough critic but even I fell victim to Gail Honeyman's wonderful novel about the very interesting journey of one special protagonist as her character evolves. A must read in 2018!

A very light book on a heavy topic
Such a fun read although emotional at the same time. It’s written so lightly while touching such a profound subject. It made me laugh and cry.

A Fine read...
I read this book in one sitting,,,a beautiful read, captures the feeling of loneliness perfectly, writes beautiful meaning / feelings behind simple gestures like making a cup of tea for someone...I wished so much that Eleanor would find inner peace. Eleanor's character was described so well I felt I knew her and I think I do know people who experience loneliness in the same way as she felt it in the book and develop similar oddities that some of us find entertaining at best and weird at worst. The book had many hilarious elements however there was a continual undercurrent topic of isolation in the book that impacted a young lady that left her flat daily to go to work in a busy office...I found the book hopeful,,,small changes can help you move from A to B and its an adventure that people find fascinating, friendship can be there if we open our eyes and hearts to seen it...a fantastic book...I look forward to Gail Honeymans next book.

Thought provoking
While I have to Admit I chose this book out of sheer luck, I am so glad that I did, i can honestly say that it was humorous, desperately sad at times and wonderfully thought provoking. I am ashamed to say that like most people I fall prey to judging others before giving them a chance, whether it be by how they dress, speak or even simply that they are different and not as society sees "normal". To me the story bought to the forefront that I should not be so quick to judge, and that something that I may class as insignificant could be important to others.
I have never had a book impact me in quite away before (I have read thousands) and maybe it won't effect the next person to read it, but what I will take away personally is this, I won't be so quick to judge, I will try to give an act of kindness to somebody everyday whether that is just a smile when they need it or an ear if they just need to talk. Never again will I take for granted the loving family and network of support. Before anybody says I am well aware this is fiction and maybe you think that I am being a tad over zealous with my ramblings and that is probably true but either way it bought home a few home truths about the way we treat each other and maybe just maybe it will encourage us to treat each other a little kinder and a little more accepting.
Sorry for the essay but thanks for the lesson x

Loved it
Best book I've read in ages.
I love that Eleanor's quirky ways that make you cringe.... and love the way you slowly find out why she's like she is, as well as a great friendship that grows in the book.
Just my kind of book.
Power Reviewer
Cloggie Downunder

brilliant debut novel
“Even the circus freak side of my face – my damaged half – was better than the alternative, which would have meant death by fire. I didn’t burn to ashes. I emerged from the flames like a little phoenix. I ran my fingers over the scar tissue, caressing the contours…. There are scars on my heart, just as thick, as disfiguring as those on my face. I know they’re there. I hope some undamaged tissue remains, a patch through which love can come in and flow out. I hope.”

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is the first novel by British author, Gail Honeyman. At thirty years of age, and despite her degree in Classics, Eleanor Oliphant has worked a mundane office job in By Design, a graphic design company in Glasgow for nine years. She has no friends and the people she works with find her strange. But her life is well organised: completely fine, in her opinion, needing nothing. Until, that is, she casts eyes on musician Johnnie Lomond.

Eleanor sets out to attract the love of her life, undergoing several preparatory procedures to ready herself for a potential encounter (waxing, hair, nails, make-up), as well as acquiring the electronic means to do some research on the object of her attention. She is distracted from her task by Raymond Gibbons, the firm’s (rather slovenly) IT consultant, who ropes her into helping an old man who has fallen in the street. Eleanor is sure he’s drunk but “…Even alcoholics deserve help, I suppose, although they should get drunk at home, like I do, so that they don’t cause anyone else any trouble. But then, not everyone is as sensible and considerate as me.”

Honeyman gives the reader a moving tale that includes a good dose of humour. Eleanor is a complex character: socially inept but generally unaware of it, often remarking on the lack of manners that others display: “’You don’t look like a social worker,’ I said. She stared at me but said nothing. Not again! In every walk of life, I encounter people with underdeveloped social skills with alarming frequency. Why is it that client-facing jobs hold such allure for misanthropes…”

Yet Eleanor is often insightful, although she can also be naïve: “After all, how hard could it be? … If I could perform scansion on the Aeneid, if I could build a macro in an Excel spreadsheet, if I could spend the last nine birthdays and Christmases and New Year’s Eves alone, then I’m sure I could manage to organize a delightful festive lunch for thirty people on a budget of ten pounds per capita”

Her literal interpretation of what people say often makes for laugh-out-loud moments, and her observations can be shrewd: “She had tried to steer me towards vertiginous heels again – why are these people so incredibly keen on crippling their female customers? I began to wonder if cobblers and chiropractors had established fiendish cartel.”

This brilliant debut novel touches on childhood neglect, physical cruelty and emotional abuse, as well as repressed memories and survivor guilt. It highlights the value of a skilled counsellor and the importance of care and understanding, friendship and love. Recommended!
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