Review: Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine

Written by Isabella Boneham

Synopsis on 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 timetabled life of avoiding unnecessary human contact, 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, the three rescue one another from the lives of isolation that they had been living. Ultimately, it is Raymond’s big heart that will help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one. If she does, she’ll learn that she, too, is capable of finding friendship—and even love—after all.

Smart, warm, uplifting, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is 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 your heart.

My review:

Well, it is no surprise that Gail Honeyman’s debut novel won the Costa First Novel Award back in 2017 and the British Book Awards Book of the Year in 2018.

It is a novel that makes you think deeply about loneliness, kindness, not giving up and being true to who you are.

The novel focuses on a lot of important topics such that of loneliness, grief and mental health.

As the reader you feel as if you are going on this journey with the main character, Eleanor, learning life’s lessons as she does whilst also uncovering her life at the same time as she is trying to put together the pieces after a traumatic experience.

Her uniqueness as a character made me very intrigued and this continues throughout the novel, trying to figure out why she is the way she is and does what she does. Her uniqueness also highlights how we should all embrace our own differences and quirks, and not judge people by just physical appearance alone.

It is a heartwarming story as a relationship blossoms and we get to see how Eleanor and Raymond navigate this friendship, as Eleanor works through her grief and trauma. I also like how the author kept their relationship as a friendship till the end – there may have been hints but we will never know what they might have gone on to be, which leaves you thinking once the book has finished.

The novel focuses a lot on the simplicity of kindness in everyday life – and how this can mean so much, no matter how small the act. It can change a person’s mindset of life or even just their day ahead. But showing the acts of kindness to those we love and those around us day-to-day can go a long way.

Grief is another topic that surfaces in the book as we start to get to know Eleanor more. Everyone deals with grief differently and it is important to talk about it – be open with our feelings. Eleanor starts to go to therapy – with Gail Honeyman highlighting how there is no shame in this, to talk about our grief, our traumas in life. And doing this with someone who is outside our friends and family can be hugely beneficial.

The chance encounters in this novel that impact hugely upon Eleanor’s life – almost changing her life in some ways – shows how important it is to talk to people, connect with people, because you never know who you may meet in life.

This is a book that I would re-read, it was enjoyable from beginning to end and a story that will stick with me.

Life-affirming. Humorous. Original. Touching.

Reese Witherspoon has since teamed up with MGM to produce a film version of the bestselling novel – which I cannot wait to see!

Have you read this book? If so let me know in the comments whether you enjoyed it or not – what did you like or not like about the novel? What actress do you think would be a perfect fit to play Eleanor?

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