ELEANOR OLIPHANT IS COMPLETELY FINE

by Gail Honeyman

A young woman’s well-ordered life is disrupted by the I.T. guy from her office.

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1 positive comments

4 neutral comments

0 negative comments

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What people are saying on Twitter (sample)

  • .@StylistMagazine: This is the book we can’t put down in 2018 - #BAMBReadersAwards @booksaremybag https://t.co/VAbdL2rSqy
  • Gail Honeyman's Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine crowned the public's book of the year https://t.co/Wix1hq46yR
  • Four books away from my 2018 reading goal! Just devoured "Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine" (excellent book!), what next? 👀 📖
  • I spent the last few days rereading one of my favorite books from the last year--ELEANOR OLIPHANT IS COMPLETELY FIN… https://t.co/s3KFTfWQQw
  • This is the book we can’t put down in 2018 via @stylistmagazine https://t.co/3uAkJLQYLW #BAMBReadersAwards
  • 14 positive comments

    6 neutral comments

    10 negative comments

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    What people are saying on Amazon (sample)

    • 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.
    • I will be the first to say that I am always wary of the "popular reads". I've found that I have different preferences than a lot of people, so when a book is super trendy, I go into it thinking I will think it's about a 2 star read. But this was NOT the case with Eleanor Oliphant.My mind was blown by the character development in the story despite it being told from one persons perspective. By the end of the book, I loved Eleanor, I loved Raymond, and I longed for a friendship like the two of them had. I also hated her mother and never wished ill will on a book character the way I did her. I was completely invested in the characters, the story, and what would happen at the end.I think we can all relate to Eleanor in one way or another. I felt myself laughing out loud at her quirks and thinking, "That bothers me, too!" Her unfiltered approach to life was refreshing and comedic.This is a book I will recommend to everyone looking for a good story with some laughs and a great ending. Maybe there will be a volume 2? I will like the story is open for a sequel :)
    • What a great title. The central idea of the story is Eleanor’s growth from not fine at all to nearly fine—or close enough so the story ends well because we readers see that path out ahead of her. We leave Raymond, a perfect foil to Eleanor’s constricted persona, as a possibility, not a certainty. Nice … so un-cliché.Speaking of cliché, it would have been so easy to drench this story in it. Honeyman manages to get through it without cliché and in first person. Like the old story of the gifted athlete who was asked how he made love and responded, “Standing up … in a hammock.”Eleanor is an engaging character from the first page, pathetic in her many strictures at first. But she's so bright and funny without realizing it, we like her anyway. We watch the strictures strain and break as the story moves along. She’s bottled up in her preconceptions through the first half of the book. If Honeyman had pushed it just a little further, Eleanor would have become a repeating inanity. But at Sammy’s funeral, finally, she felt terrible for Sammy and his family … “Tears came, and the more I tried to fight them, the more they came.” To me, that initiated Eleanor’s growth.Also, I’m a sucker for good writing. How in-character of Eleanor to describe Donald Trump’s favorite filet o’ fish as a “square of indeterminate white fish, which was coated in bread crumbs and deep fried and then inserted between an overly sweet bread bun, accompanied, bizarrely, by a processed cheese slice, a limp lettuce leaf and some tangy white slime which bordered o obscenity.” Honeyman mines high dudgeon for great humor again and again.Writing in first person has become popular in the last decade, possibly in keeping with people's intense interest in their own inner workings. First person is difficult to do well because all the information the reader gets is from the protagonist. There is no way to vector in on a situation from multiple points of view. Therefore, stress on the protagonist. Honeyman turns the disadvantage on its head by writing such a compelling main character that we never get tired of seeing the world through her eyes. In the first half of the book, Eleanor manages to let the reader know just how distorted her view of the world is but succeeds in making the reader understand that she is oblivious. High art, indeed.Jaded a reader as I am, I have not had fiction force me to stay awake well beyond midnight in more than a year. I finished Eleanor at 2:30 am.
    • I did come to like and sympathise with Eleanor and the other characters in the book; but I found it a bit of a fairy tale and I wasn't entirely convinced. The story of Eleanor's coming to grips with her traumatising past, and overcoming it, seemed a bit too pat and simplistic. It is well written, and I wouldn't say I didn't enjoy reading it, but it is not the type of book I would normally choose.
    • Eleanor Oliphant wants you to know that she is completely fine thank you very much. She goes to work, comes home to her one-bedroom flat, spends her evenings and weekends alone, enjoys crossword puzzles, and drinking vodka, and every Wednesday she speaks to her mummy. She is perfectly content, and doesn’t need anything, or anyone, else. Then she attends a concert, where as soon as she lays eyes on the lead singer, is convinced he is the man for her, and makes it her mission to meet him. Around the same time she meets, Raymond, the IT guy from her office, whose irritating habits, and personal grooming leave a lot to be desired. And when Eleanor and Raymond come to the rescue of an elderly man, Sammy, after he collapses in the street, Eleanor’s carefully ordered life really starts to change.This was a phenomenal read, that really messed with my emotions. I’d be in fits of laughter one minute, enveloped with a warm feeling the next, then blinking back the tears, and swallowing the lump in my throat. It dealt with some very serious issues, but was never a depressing read. Nor was it a light read, but it was a fun one, which sounds like a contradiction, but you’ll see what I mean.Eleanor and Raymond were both wonderful characters with a lot of depth. I was certain going in that I had the reason for Eleanor being the way she was pegged, but I was completely wrong, which made this a very unexpected, touching, and powerful book. I really admired Eleanor for being so strong and positive. She was truly an inspiration, and watching her slowly blossom and heal was pure joy. And Raymond was such a sweetheart – genuine, kind and patient – you couldn’t have asked for a better man for Eleanor to meet. Oh and he’s Scottish, love those accents, can’t wait for the movie. Eleanor and Raymond’s relationship was beyond cute and adorable – a slow burn that felt real and natural.Feeling blessed right now to have read this, and am excited to see what Gail Honeyman writes next.