No one’s ever told Eleanor that life should be better than fine.
Meet Eleanor Oliphant: She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy.
But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become the kinds of friends who rescue one another from the lives of isolation they have each been living. And it is Raymond’s big heart that will ultimately help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one.
Soon to be a major motion picture produced by Reese Witherspoon, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is the smart, warm, and uplifting story of an out-of-the-ordinary heroine whose deadpan weirdness and unconscious wit make for an irresistible journey as she realizes. . .
The only way to survive is to open your heart.
Eleanor Oliphant may be Completely Fine, but I’m not sure that I am after reading this book! This is a pretty short review considering how many feelings this book stirred up, but I can’t put many of them into words.
Eleanor is an eccentric woman who is trying her best to forge a life despite having a truly horrific childhood, she has no guidelines on how to have relationships with others so she keeps herself to herself and hopes she doesn’t die of the loneliness.
More than anything else, Eleanor is sensible. She’s clever, logical and very damaged by her past but thanks to recent events, she’s being forced to confront her loneliness and become part of the world or die trying. Her character’s voice is distinctive and unintentionally witty, she sees the world in a different way to everyone else and is an unreliable narrator at times because of this – but most of all, she’s totally lovable.
She’s befriended by Raymond, a man who doesn’t mind that she’s eccentric and standoffish. He’s befriended her and there’s not much she can do about it now… Raymond is defined by the kindness he shows everyone, he doesn’t see Eleanor as a project, just somebody who needs kindness. He doesn’t try to change her.
The writing of this book is so raw, combining humour with the truly awful, that I had to take a few breaks to catch my breath. It’s uplifting for the most part and thankfully has a positive ending (Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, after all!) but getting there is harrowing.
I also enjoyed that the book was set in Scotland, it wasn’t mentioned much in the book but you could pick up on the speech patterns of some of the characters and though it’s not a big deal – it’s something I really loved.
It’s not a book to lift your spirits if you suffer from depression, but it’s a book that reminds you that other people feel the same way.
Prepare. To. Cry.
**Thank you NetGalley for a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and unbiased review**