Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
|Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman|
|Category: General Fiction|
|Reviewer: Olivia Mitchell|
|Summary: A bestselling debut novel about pain, trauma, loneliness and denial and the power of human kindness that both warms and breaks the heart.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 400||Date: January 2018|
|Publisher: Harper Collins|
Eleanor Oliphant is almost 30. She lives in Glasgow, alone. And she likes it that way. She works 9-5, 5 days a week, and spends the weekend not drunk, but not sober. alone. And she likes it that way. She lives by a routine, and that's fine, thankyouverymuch. Nothing is missing from her life. Except everything is. Until one day, at a concert she won tickets for in an office raffle, she sees the man she is sure will be her husband. Eleanor begins a journey to make herself the best version of herself that she can, in order to secure this beautiful musician. Then, as she's on her way home one Friday, she and the new IT guy at her office see a man collapse in the street and stay close to him in hospital. Then, before she knows it, her once quiet life becomes a hubbub of social engagements with the man's family and friends, with Raymond from IT and of course her side project of falling in love with Johnnie Lomond. But just as her life seems to be looking up, things take a turn for the worse. Is Johnnie all he's cracked up to be? What secrets does Eleanor have from her childhood? Eleanor's walls have been broken down and she has to fight her way out of the shadows - but maybe she doesn't have to do it alone.
Eleanor is an oddball loner who struggles to navigate social situations, often making everyone around her uncomfortable with her tendency to say whatever is on her mind - and initially comes off quite unlikeable to the reader, as a self-imposed judgemental loner. She lives by a routine that only serves to continue her loneliness. She often references her traumatic childhood, though we never really see a full picture - mainly because she doesn't know it herself, and chooses to numb herself with vodka instead. She is also subject to a cruel and emotionally abusive mother, with whom she shares painful weekly phone calls whilst her mother is institutionalised, which always end up with Eleanor feeling unworthy of love. Her life has been informed by pain and loneliness, and that's something we really feel for her about. Her character development throughout the book is a marvel, watching her claw her way out of the shadows and realise she doesn't have to be so alone is inspiring and powerful. She is a fascinating protagonist to read.
The other characters, Raymond and Sammy in particular, show the power of humanity on a human being, and they really bring a spark of life to the book.
The book is laid out in 2 parts, 'Good Days' and 'Bad Days', following her ever-changing life. The language is easy to digest, and yet creates a compelling, original voice to the character and a familiar world of bleak adulthood, peppered with moments of human kindness. It's a heart-breaking and heart-warming story, dealing with pain, trauma, loneliness and denial in a surprisingly funny and perceptive debut novel. And although the book is occasionally marred by cliché stereotypes, it is still a wonderful and important book.
A funny, unpredictable, dark and heart wrenching story about emotional reconnection, loneliness, trauma and the power of a little kindness.
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