No, Eleanor Oliphant is not completely fine. She isn’t even fine. She’s angry, super critical of everyone and everything, and decidedly an unlikable piece of work. She’s also damaged but you won’t know the severity of her damage until the book’s ending. She has a telephone conversation with her Mummy once a week and it’s fairly clear that this adult daughter is still tied to mum’s apron strings. She has poor social skills and seems to exist on frozen pizza and vodka. Eleanor has a strong dislike for the music of Andrew Lloyd Webber and believes it would probably be broadcasted in hell, without breaks, where the audience would be forced to watch and listen for eternity. The very worst sinners, the child molesters and murderous dictators, would have to perform such music. Eleanor has few friends, one being a young man from her workplace named Raymond. They go out together but, in Eleanor’s view, he’s just a temporary convenience who has to pay his share of pub drinks. Her main romantic interest is a man she’s never met, a musician named Johnnie Lomond. She dreams about him and, at one point, makes a surreptitious visit to his apartment in hopes of catching a glimpse of him. Eleanor is convinced that one fine day they will meet, he’ll fall desperate in love with her, and they will live happily ever after. Personal detail about Eleanor’s past life emerges slowly as the plot moves forward like an onion being peeled, one layer at a time. Her hands are damaged by ecxzema and we learn about a scar on her face but not what caused it. We also learn that she had once been married and that her husband had committed some kind of physical damage on her. More than once I was tempted to toss this book into my recycle bin but I soldiered on. The seemingly universal acclaim for this book kept me reading however, so I trusted that a favorable chance of pace would soon emerge. Sure enough, about the middle of the book, the tide begins to change. At the request of her employer Eleanor begins twice a week conferences with a woman counselor named Marie. It isn’t easy for her but she eventually comes to term with her past, also aided in large part due to her growing friendship with Raymond. The setting for the story is Glasgow and there are a number of “Scottish-isms” scattered throughout the text but you shouldn’t have great difficulty understanding their meaning because of the context. There is a note on the back cover that says Soon to be a Major Motion Picture produced by Reese Witherspoon. When I read that a thought occurred to me: the person who writes the screenplay will have a real challenge on his/her hands because most of novel’s text is written in the first person with Eleanor as an unreliable narrator.