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Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine: A Novel Hardcover – May 9, 2017
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From the Publisher
Smart warm uplifting the 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 her heart 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 All this means that Eleanor has become a creature of habit to say the least and a bit of a loner 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 Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is the story of a quirky yet lonely woman whose social misunderstandings and deeply ingrained routines could be changed forever if she can bear to confront the secrets she has avoided all her life But if she does she ll learn that she too is capable of finding friendship and even love after all
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There is so much to Eleanor. In the beginning, I thought that I didn’t care too much for her but as time went on and she opened up, well, I fell in love with her. I would venture to say that she is on the autism spectrum. What a sad story she had lived and what a wonderful world opening up for her. Beautifully written and just a lovely story, you will fall in love with Eleanor too.
For whatever reason, even amidst all the rave reviews, I thought the book might be odd or boring; a whole book about a quirky woman, I thought how could this be so wonderful? However, it is so much more than that. It has in depth portrayal of a woman and her past and how she has come to be who she is. It details her struggles with a hurtful past, and as the story develops, so does our heroine. She begins to look at things in a new light, and grows into this beautiful strong and brave person. You want to applaud her in the end and give her a hug.
This is an intelligent and beautifully written story, a definite page turner. I highly recommend.
By Gail Honeyman
Reviewed by Jay Gilbertson
Fine. Think of that word for a moment. Fine. We blurt it out when asked how we are or how the kids are or how the soup is. But in this particular novel, Eleanor Oliphant is anything but. What she is will surprise you, maybe even scare you a bit, certainly she’ll teach you a few things and I just know, in the end, you will come to love her. I did.
Told entirely in first person, we see the world through Eleanor’s eyes. I should note that this is not an exciting, adventure-filled tale full of lofty thoughts and delightful characters that race through life and blast off into the sunset. Hardly. It’s a revelation of what it’s like to live on the very edge of life. To exist as almost a shadow-person. Eleanor is someone we all have known and seen and passed by. And, she deserves a closer look.
This is author Honeyman’s debut novel, I had to check to make sure, the writing is that of a well-seasoned blockbuster. The way she skillfully weaves Eleanor’s tattered and dark and mysterious life into something vital is at the core of why this tale matters. We learn early on that Eleanor has a very scared face, that she lives alone, works as an accounts receivable clerk in an office and routine and order rule. Each Wednesday, like clockwork, she speaks on the phone to her mummy. Keep in mind, Eleanor is nearly thirty.
“It’s only been a week, I know, but it feels like an age since we last spoke, Mummy. I’ve been so busy with work and—She cut across me, nice as pie on this occasion, switching her accent to match mine. That voice; I remembered it from childhood, heard it still in my nightmares.”
Socially, this woman is a totally inept. Not only does she lack a clue as to how humans interact socially, she has pretty much simply given in to the fact that she will most likely always live alone. And then a musician catches her eye while all the time Raymond, the IT guy at her work-place, hovers on into her strange life. She justifies her very existence with simple facts as only she can see them.
“I do not light up a room when I walk into it. No one longs to see me or hear my voice. I do not feel sorry for myself, not in the least. These are simply statements of fact.”
“Some people, weak people, fear solitude. What they fail to understand is that there's something very liberating about it, once you realize that you don't need anyone, you can take care of yourself. That's the thing: it's best just to take care of yourself. You can't protect other people, however hard you try. You try, and you fail, and your world collapses around you, burns down to ashes.”
Though the ending seemed pretty pat, by the time you get there, you are ready for some happy. Author Honeyman manages to NOT show any self-pity toward her quirky character and the sudden twist at the end, well, it will make you wonder. And that’s the sign of a really good read.
• You know an Eleanor
• Are you an Eleanor?