Book Review : Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

 

 

I’d heard about this book and closed the final page last night. It did not disappoint. What began as a slow boil exploded in the last quarter of the book and I was unable to put it down.

Eleanor is a thirty-year-old woman who lives on the fringe of society. She is a creature of habit, working at an office during the week, doing cross words, eating pizza and drinking vodka on the weekend by herself in her tiny flat. She cocoons herself away and you know there is something not quite right. She’s never known the warm touch of love and wonders what it might be like. Her observations of the world around her are comical, sad and poignant. What social interactions she has, is extremely awkward and naïve until she meets Raymond who works at the same company and takes the time to try to understand her.

To reveal too much would spoil it, but this novel is a study on loneliness and isolation which we often associate with the elderly, not someone of this age. Eleanor’s awkwardness and naiveté makes for some very funny moments. If you think the story sounds a bit morbid, it isn’t. Eleanor is a survivor and to watch her grow is glorious. The author cleverly hints about her childhood and builds on it until the explosive reveal toward the end, when we discover why Eleanor is the way she is.

It’s memorable and heart-warming. I really enjoyed it.

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