When You Cannot Stop Reading Because Eleanor Oliphant is (NOT) Completely Fine
16th April, 2017
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.
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
Language : English
Pages : 386
Rating : 5/5
Disclaimer : Much thanks to Harper Fiction for a copy of the book. All opinions are my own.
Is this book on your radar? Or have you read it already?