Review: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine


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.

This is one of the books I got for my birthday, and it was well-deserving of a place in Reese’s Book Club.

“Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine” centers around the main character Eleanor, who is…fundamentally unlikable. I remember complaining to my brother about how off-putting she was when I started reading. However, Eleanor’s character is complex and endearing, and over the book you learn who she is, why she is that way, and how she starts to heal.

She starts off the book as a withdrawn, orderly person, and by the end, she has broken open. No, she’s not a new person–she’s who she was all along, herself.

I want to warn readers that this book can be very disturbing at times. It deals with mental health and child abuse, and Eleanor is an acute example of what can happen to the human psyche after traumatic events.

The plot was nice–I prefer books where, instead of there being some “big event”, it’s just the main character. They’re the main event. No war, no chosen one stuff, just human beings. And this book presents a lot of those. As we meet these characters through Eleanor’s eyes, at first we’re wary of Dr. Maria, Raymond, Bob, Laura, Raymond’s mother, Sammy, and countless others–but Honeyman has an excellent writing hand, and over the course of the book, the cast of characters becomes like more of a family.

It’s profound, and lovely, and dazzling, but in a simple and beautiful way.

This book made me laugh, this book made me cry, and, like I’ve said, it was certainly incredibly beautiful. A must-read.



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