Summary and book reviews of Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

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
    Paperback:
    Jun 2018, 352 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Francesca Baker

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About this Book

Book Summary

Smart, warm, uplifting, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is the story of an out-of-the-ordinary heroine whose deadpan weirdness and unconscious wit make for an irresistible journey.

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.

Smart, warm, uplifting, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is the 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. 

Excerpt
Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine

>When people ask me what I do—taxi drivers, hairdressers—I tell them I work in an office. In almost eight years, no one's ever asked what kind of office, or what sort of job I do there. I can't decide whether that's because I fit perfectly with their idea of what an office worker looks like, or whether people hear the phrase work in an office and automatically fill in the blanks themselves—lady doing photocopying, man tapping at a keyboard. I'm not complaining. I'm delighted that I don't have to get into the fascinating intricacies of accounts receivable with them. When I first started working here, whenever anyone asked, I told them that I worked for a graphic design company, but then they assumed I was a creative type. It became a bit boring to see their faces blank over when I explained that it was back office stuff, that I didn't get to use the fine-tipped pens and the fancy software.

I&#...

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An Introduction to Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
 
"My life, I realized, had gone wrong. Very, very wrong. I wasn't supposed to live like this. No one was supposed to live like this. The problem was that I simply didn't know how to make it right. (p. 232)
 
Twenty-nine-year-old accounting clerk Eleanor Oliphant tends to stick to her routine: work all week, buy a supermarket pizza and two bottles of vodka on Friday, and spend the weekend alone in a drunken stupor waiting for Monday to arrive. Eccentric, awkward, and judgmental, Eleanor might sound like the very definition of an antiheroine, yet in debut author Gail Honeyman's hands, she is refreshingly honest and utterly relatable. With a sharp, ...
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    Costa Book Awards
    2018

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Odd Eleanor slowly enters a life that she never thought was for her. She remains quirky and unique, and the reader loves her for it, but her life becomes a little more expansive and contains a bit more opportunity. Gail Honeyman wrote this novel as she entered her forties. Just like her protagonist, Honeyman learned that your past does not have to define your future. Eleanor may be a social misfit, but she is an incredibly astute one. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is perceptive, wise, funny and utterly readable.   (Reviewed by Francesca Baker).

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Media Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
Very funny ... Honeyman's endearing debut is part comic novel, part emotional thriller, and part love story.

Booklist
Starred Review. Move over, Ove (in Fredrik Backman's A Man Called Ove) - there's a new curmudgeon to love.

Library Journal
Honeyman's exquisite, heartbreaking, funny, and irresistible novel brings to life a character so original and pitch-perfect that it is nearly impossible to believe this is a debut. Surprises abound as the author boldly turns literary expectations upside down and gives to her readers Eleanor Oliphant, who, yes, is completely, beautifully fine.

Author Blurb ojo Moyes, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Me Before You
Eleanor Oliphant is a truly original literary creation: funny, touching, and unpredictable. Her journey out of dark shadows is absolutely gripping.

Author Blurb Paula McClain, New York Times bestselling author of The Paris Wife and Circling the Sun
Deft, compassionate and deeply moving - Honeyman's debut will have you rooting for Eleanor with every turning page.

Author Blurb Fiona Barton, New York Times bestselling author of The Widow
So powerful - I completely loved Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine.

Author Blurb J. Ryan Stradal, New York Times bestselling author of Kitchens of the Great Midwest
Moving, hilarious, and intriguing, just like its unique, anti-social, anti-heroine. You will fall in love with Eleanor Oliphant.

Author Blurb Jonathan Evison, author of This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance
Honeyman's debut is a stunner, as buoyant and charming as it is heartwrenching and emotionally sophisticated. Poor Eleanor Oliphant - often clueless, at times maddening, but always fascinating - walks right off the page and into the reader's heart. Not only is Eleanor Oliphant completely fine, she's a revelation.

Author Blurb Mona Awad, author of 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl
Eleanor Oliphant endears herself to the reader with her cantankerous charm and her disarmingly inscrutable voice. A compulsive, irresistible narrative that arcs toward compassion and light.

Author Blurb Nina Stibbe, bestselling author of Paradise Lodge
Heart-wrenching and wonderful!

Reader Reviews

Lynn

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.

Deirdre

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. ...   Read More

Bookwormatheart

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 ...   Read More

Snail

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.

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Beyond the Book

Nudge Theory

In Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, the protagonist's lack of knowledge or understanding of social norms and conventions evokes sympathy, and leaves her lonely and isolated, at odds with the world. She expresses bafflement at many, and rightly so – they simply do not make sense. But social norms are not just cultural oddities and habits. They are powerful, can be both positive and negative – but are able to be changed. Governments and brands around the world are harnessing their potential for impact.

Nudge theory is a type of behavioral economics based on the idea that by creating situations and circumstances that make certain behavior and activity more attractive, individuals can be encouraged to change. In their 2008 ...

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