Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman– 327 pages
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.
Then 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.
My Review: 4 stars
Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is so much more than fine. She’s quirky, completely out of tune with all things social, is practical to a fault, has no friends to speak of and is a borderline alcoholic. With all this wackiness, she is also endearing, funny, lonely and a product of a physical and emotional abuse.
The combination of Eleanor having a teen-like crush on a local bandleader and witnessing an accident (along with another co-worker) outside her place of work is the turning point for Eleanor. The author takes this opportunity to create a one of a kind character that will stick with me for some time to come.
I was hesitant to read this book at first. Curmudgeon like characters or those that fall somewhere under the Asperger’s umbrella has been trending like crazy. A Man Called Ove and The Rosie Project were some of the first, and after that, they all began to blur together. Not Eleanor though. Her story has a unique undertone and a good mystery within its pages. It’s about friendship and how random acts of kindness can change someone’s life. It’s about believing in yourself, seeking goodness and the power to start over. It’s about trusting in therapy and in people.
Overall, I adored this sweet debut novel and look forward to reading more from Gail Honeyman.
Quotes I liked:
I simply didn’t know how to make things better. I could not solve the puzzle of me.”
-“ I feel sorry for beautiful people. Beauty, from the moment your possess it, is already slipping away, ephemeral. That must be difficult.”
-“There are scars on my heart, just as think, as disfiguring as those on my face. I know they’re there. I hope some undamaged tissue remains, a patch through which love can come in and flow out. I hope.
-“Time only blunts the pain of loss. It doesn’t erase it.”
-“What, I wondered was the point of me?”
-“Some people, weak people, fear solitude. What they fail to understand is that you don’t need anyone, you can take care of yourself.”
-“…in principle and reality, libraries are life-enhancing palaces of wonder”