ELEANOR OLIPHANT IS COMPLETELY FINE by Gail Honeyman

Eleanor Oliphant

Contemporary Adult Fiction

Published on May 2017

Published by Viking – Pamela Dorman Books

More book details on Goodreads

Summary from Goodreads:

Meet Eleanor Oliphant. She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully time-tabled 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 Thoughts:

To be honest? I only agreed to read this book with Cary when she pitched the idea of a buddy read because I thought this would be another cutesy love story involving an IT guy in the likes of Lincoln O’Neill of Rainbow Rowell’s Attachments proportions. I was wrong. This book is beyond cutesy. There’s an IT guy indeed, but there’s nothing fluffy about his story, even more about Eleanor’s.

But it’s fine. Really, it’s fine. Eleanor Oliphant has been feeling fine for such a long time. She’s completely fine with her daily and weekly routine, never mind if her coworkers laugh behind her back (and even in front of her), and even if her Mummy doesn’t seem to approve of her life. But her office computer has to act up and so she had to call the IT guy, and that’s when Eleanor felt her life began to become un-fine. Or did it?

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine completely took me by surprise in the way the story was executed. I may have already read stories that deals with similar themes but Eleanor Oliphant’s character is presented in another different light. The mystery surrounding her character is gradually revealed while the story progressed, and even though most of my hunches proved to be correct, I still enjoyed the suspense.

Another thing that I loved about Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is the fact that although  it completely deals with a theme that should not be taken lightly, Gail Honeyman was able to weave humor and sensitivity together and made Eleanor Oliphant a truly remarkable and sympathetic character. Her innocence (naivete?) of social conventions, although admittedly hilarious many time, is far from charming as it becomes a social commentary of why “normal” people behave the way they do. Too many times I had to pause and chew on the things Eleanor has “observed.”

“But, by careful observation from the sidelines, I’d worked out that social success is often built on pretending just a little. Popular people sometimes have to laugh at things they don’t find very funny, do things they don’t particularly want to, with people whose company they don’t particularly enjoy. Not me. I had decided, years ago, that if the choice was between that or flying solo, then I’d fly solo. It was safer that way.”

And here’s a particular part that really had me laughing so hard:

“Dancing was easy!…YMCA! YMCA! Arms in the air, mimicking the letters – what a marvelous idea! Who knew that dancing could be so logical? …From my limited exposure to popular music, people did seem to sing about umbrellas and firestarting and Emily Bronte novels, so, I supposed, why not a gender-and faith-based youth organization?”

I’m afraid I would not be able to talk more about the book without becoming spoilery so I’ll just have to end here. If there’s something that Eleanor Oliphant taught me is that there is always a story behind being “fine”.

“If someone asks you how you are, you are meant to say FINE. You are not meant to say that you cried yourself to sleep last night because you hadn’t spoken to another person for two consecutive days. FINE is what you say.”

My Rating: 4/5 stars.

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