Gail Honeyman’s Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine… she has learned how to survive, but perhaps not how to live.
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Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine Synopsis”
‘Funny, touching, and unpredictable.’ – Jojo Moyes
Eleanor Oliphant leads a simple life. She wears the same clothes to work every day, eats the same meal deal for lunch every day and buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink every weekend.
Eleanor Oliphant is happy. Nothing is missing from her carefully timetabled life. Except, sometimes, everything.
One simple act of kindness is about to shatter the walls Eleanor has built around herself. Now she must learn how to navigate the world that everyone else seems to take for granted while searching for the courage to face the dark corners she’s avoided all her life.
Change can be good. Change can be bad. But surely any change is better than fine?
Gail Honeyman’s Eleanor Oliphant, the narrator of her debut novel is more than fine, she is wonderful!
“A philosophical question: if a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? And if a woman who’s wholly alone occasionally talks to a pot plant, is she certifiable? I think that it is perfectly normal to talk to oneself occasionally. It’s not as though I’m expecting a reply. I’m fully aware that Polly is a houseplant.”
She loves crosswords and laments the butchery of the English language*
“LOL could go and take a running jump. I wasn’t made for illiteracy; it simply didn’t come naturally.”
and waning standards of personal hygiene and social etiquette.
“Did you have a good time on Saturday, then?” he asked. I wished it had been between mouthfuls, but it was, in fact, horrifically, during one. “Yes, thank you,” I said. “It was the first time I’ve tried dancing, and I quite enjoyed it.” He kept forking the food into his mouth. The process, and the noise, seemed almost industrial in its relentlessness.”
She has always been different, and so doesn’t give a toss what others think. They’re the strange ones, right? This results in many hilarious narrative asides as she navigates the world and embarks on greater human interaction.
“I pondered what else I should take for him. Flowers seemed wrong; they’re a love token, after all. I looked in the fridge, and popped a packet of cheese slices into the bag. All men like cheese.”
Deeply moving character journey
But for all the delicious awkwardness and fish-out-of-water humour to be found in Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, the inescapable truth is that we are all a product of our experiences, and Eleanor’s have been difficult to say the least… Ghosts of the past rarely stay in the box they’ve been assigned to, especially when you start opening doors to let others in. And this, dear reader, is the catalyst for one of the most genuine and deeply moving character journeys I’ve read in a very long time – powerful enough to evoke tears of laughter and sadness.
This was an audiobook I listened to late into the wee hours, often finding myself holding my breath in the darkest moments… so compelling is Catherine McCarron’s earnest delivery of Honeyman’s masterfully written first-person narrative. < Listen to an audio sample >
Only very special books, the most memorable and impactful ones, are awarded our 5 Star rating here at Booklover Book Reviews — Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is definitely one of them.
BOOK RATING: The Story 5 / 5 ; The Writing 5 / 5
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Genre: Audio, Literature, Drama, Romance, Humour, Mystery
* This novel is a real boon for word lovers – wondering about the meaning/origins of the surname Oliphant?
About the Author, Gail Honeyman
While Gail Honeyman was writing her debut novel, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, it was shortlisted for the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize as a work in progress. It has subsequently sold to almost thirty territories worldwide, and it was chosen as one of the Observer’s Debuts of the Year for 2017. Gail was also awarded the Scottish Book Trust’s Next Chapter Award in 2014, and has been longlisted for BBC Radio 4’s Opening Lines and shortlisted for the Bridport Prize. She lives in Glasgow.
- In her interview with BookPage, Honeyman said, “I wanted to show that Eleanor is a survivor, that she’s damaged but not broken by what has happened to her.”
- This title was the subject of a fierce eight-way auction in the UK and became one of the most talked-about books at the 2015 Frankfurt book fair.
- Connect with Gail on Twitter
More memorable quotes from Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
Other reviews of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
“It feels like a cross between RJ Palacio’s Wonder and Brian Moore’s Judith Hearne, but funnier. Characters aren’t goodies, baddies or plot devices, they just feel like people.” — The Guardian
“To see the world from different viewpoints is one of the great purposes of literature and Eleanor’s story is an important one. It is, in my opinion, an impressive achievement by the author – especially for a debut novel.” — Readings
“Honeyman’s endearing debut is part comic novel, part emotional thriller, and part love story.” — Kirkus ReviewsUpdated
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