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When You Cannot Stop Reading Because Eleanor Oliphant is (NOT) Completely Fine

16th April, 2017

Review : Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine by Gail Honeyman

Interesting title. Check. Book being listed in every major book list. Check. Still, I wasn’t convinced. I kept thinking this is another one of those over hyped novels. Boy! I was wrong. And I’ve never felt better about being so wrong.

If someone asks you how you are, you are meant to say FINE. You are not meant to say that you cried yourself to sleep last night because you hadn’t spoken to another person for two consecutive days. FINE is what you say.”

The word ‘fine’ is often inserted in conversations without really meaning it. How many times do we carelessly throw the word around? But Eleanor’s case is different. She  is happy with her life and sees nothing wrong with it.

She is fine...

Eleanor Oliphant follows a strict routine. She works as an accountant and loves her job.  She treats herself to a frozen pizza and a bottle of vodka on the weekends. She lives a very isolated life without friends or family. Her social life is limited to a call to her mummy on Wednesday. She lives her life like a clockwork mouse.  She describes herself as a ‘self contained entity’. And Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine.

… Or so she thinks! At first she comes across as a socially awkward, slightly eccentric, hard working office goer. She is obsessed with the lead singer of a band and decides he is her ‘man’. Since he doesn’t know that she exists, there are many hilarious scenes where Eleanor tries to play her part. On the side, she finds a patient ear in Raymond when they start having lunch together. Slowly her routine gets upset, but she goes on a path of self discovery.

Review : Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine by Gail Honeyman

A bit of sweet; a bit of salt

The climax was predictable; but you just can’t stop reading till you get to the end. That’s the beauty of the book. You feel responsible for Eleanor. You cry with her; you smile when she gives an innocent socially awkward remark. You rejoice when she makes her first friend or tells a joke. Any reader who picks  the book cannot avoid the growing attachment to Eleanor with every page.

Eleanor Oliphant is a voice that needs to be heard by today’s society. Mental health and its problems are often hushed up. Such premises seldom find place in books in a realistic and non-judgmental narrative This debut is a wonderful representation of what some people are going through even when they appear to be completely ‘fine’. As Eleanor makes new friends and decides to seek professional help, her mask cracks revealing a scarred soul. We are plunged into the gruesome details of Eleanor’s past that may have influenced the person she is today. The best part of the novel is the explosion of emotions in the reader’s mind as we follow Eleanor on her journey.

Final Verdict :

This novel impressed me. In fact I checked twice if this was a debut because it had the feel of the work of a seasoned writer. Eleanor is a kindred spirit; Gail Honeyman is a talented writer and both are sure to win your heart. This is a feel-good novel full of warm people, charming friends and chuckling moments. Highly recommended!

Title : Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine
Author : Gail Honeyman
Publisher : Harper Collins
Publication: 2017
Language : English
Pages : 386
Rating : 5/5

Disclaimer : Much thanks to Harper Fiction for a copy of the book. All opinions are my own.

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Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine
This Post Has 30 Comments
  1. I finished reading this a few weeks ago and I definitely agree with you! I loved the way it was written and I loved how the novel progressed. I have been recommending this to my friends!

  2. I’ve heard so many good things about this that I should probably just read it already. I love books where you feel connected to the protagonist and your review gave me the feeling that I’d adore this one. Thanks for sharing!

    1. I hope you will love the read, Anna. Eleanor definitely wins your heart. When I started the book I thought to myself it was another hyped one because I couldn’t connect to Eleanor. Few pages in, I was totally invested in the character

  3. I am travelling, saw this book and thought: “I’ll come back in an hour for it”. And when I came back they had sold the book and they didn’t have it in stock anymore. I’m just appalled! Everyone loves it.

  4. Nice review Resh and I have seen a 5-star rating from you after a long time? I have been meaning to read this book for a long time now. Really hoping to read this one and I am sure it would be great 🙂

  5. !!! I Am so glad you read and enjoyed this book! Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine was my top read of 2017. It’s such a powerful book. You’re right– we need to be allowed to express our feelings in a healthier manner and not be ashamed of mental health concerns. How else will the world heal?

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