I have been saving this book to read on my holiday as I wanted a really good story that I could get absorbed in and as I had heard so many good reviews about Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman, I opened the first page as I got on the plane and hardly stopped reading until I had finished. I have to say now that it lived up to its 5 star reviews and I will now add my own review to this list of praise from other readers and authors.
From inside the flap: 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?
I am so glad that I read this book now when there has been so much in the news about mental illness and loneliness as this book made me think back to my days working in an office when there may have been someone that was different, who maybe did not fit in to our normal, conventional expectations of how people should be. Did I try to find out more about this person? I would like to think I did and that I did not dismiss them because they were different. Maybe I would have discovered that they were lonely but that they had so much to offer the world.
Eleanor was a character that, whilst fictional, I came to love. I admired her honesty, her precise and particular way. She never wants to offend but she often just says it how it is. I am not going to spoil the story to explain the make-up of Eleanor Oliphant as that would be to take away the joy of this book. It is a totally engaging read and it made me laugh out loud so much so that I had to read extracts to my fellow holiday-makers, one of whom is head of English at a secondary school and loved the correctness of Eleanor’s speech which is so not on-trend but is nevertheless delightful and entertaining. It will also make you cry and it will keep you intrigued right to the very last page.
This book is the debut novel for Gail Honeyman so I am hoping that there is another in the pipeline as her storytelling skills and observations are second to none. She deserves all the praise that is amassing for this novel. I understand that Reese Witherspoon has bought the rights to this book so I hope that Hollywood does not ruin it as it is the simplicity that so appeals.
I was so sad when I came to the end but it is a book that I want all my girlfriends to read and I will be recommending it at my next Book Club. Click here to purchase from Amazon.