Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine seems to be the book of the year, everyone is talking about it or reading it! It is like this year’s Girl on the Train. I opted to listen to the Audiobook as I have resigned myself to the fact I never read books. Audiobooks I can get through in about a week. I have tried to avoid spoilers in this review and share my honest ideas.
The book is told from the perspective of Eleanor Oliphant, a straight to the point woman who from the offset seems strange. She is initially intriguing, she works in an office, sticks to a set routine of crosswords at lunch and on a Friday enjoys a pizza and a few bottles of Glen’s Vodka. Classy! She seems to lack social awareness and just says it as it is. Which I loved about her. She was naive and basically gave zero f**ks about what people thought of her. She has such a black and white view of life.
“I’m not sure I’d like to be burned. I think I might like to be fed to zoo animals. It would be both enviromentally friendly and a lovely treat for the larger carnivores. Could you request that?”
Eleanor’s routine takes an unexpected turn when she and a colleague Raymond, are leaving work and assist an old man who has collapsed in the street. From this point, she meets new people, takes new adventures and discovers Magners, dancing, and Spongebob. There are some really fun parts of the story as she discovers differing parts of modern living. Her naivety leads Eleanor on some strange life choices and I think if I came across her in real life I think I would totally dismiss her as a mad woman. When you start to find out a bit about her history and life story you think, there is a reason you are like this.
“No thank you, I don’t want to accept a drink from you, because then I would be oblidged to purchase one for you in return, and I am afraid I’m simply not interested in spending two drinks’ worth of time with you!”
Gail Honeyman does an excellent job of taking you on a journey with Eleanor, there is of course parts of the book that you laugh with her, at her, you cringe on her behalf and at times you really feel for Eleanor. I was hooked on this book and did not know where it was going. It was a book I couldn’t wait to get to the end of but also I was sad when I was nearing the end. There was one strand of the storyline that I didn’t like when she becomes infatuated with a singer. This story seemed to be such a massive part of the story at the beginning but then fizzled out.
It is a perfect holiday read or if like me you face a long monotonous daily commute, get the audiobook. All the way through I kept thinking please don’t make this into a movie. I feel a movie wouldn’t do the book justice, most of the best parts of the book are Eleanor’s internal monologue which wouldn’t work on screen.
There is a twist at the end which arguably I think was a strange addition and I think needed more explanation. It was just slotted in the last chapter but then not really addressed well. Saying that the rest of the plot still worked without it. I do recommend it and would give it 4 stars on Goodreads.
Have you read it? What did you think?