Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine by Gail Honeyman – book review


A stunning debut about a girl who has learned how to survive – but not how to live.

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 fine. Nothing is missing from her carefully timetabled life. Except sometimes, everything.

No-one’s ever told Eleanor life should be better than fine. But with a simple act of kindness she’s about to realise exactly how much better than fine life can be.

Publication Date – May 18th 2017

Amazon UK

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I think we have all been Eleanor in some form or another in our lives and maybe that is why this book struck such a chord with me.. A quiet, unassuming woman, who works in an office and likes routine, and is socially awkward. She can’t understand the small talk that her co-workers share, and often finds herself the butt of their jokes. But she has always had this around her and seemingly ignores it, carrying on with her daily routine that keeps her safe – or just hidden from reality and all that entails..

But then her safe routine is slightly changed when she meets a co-worker and they find an elderly man collapsed in the street. Eleanor is quick to judge his predicament, but as they visit him in hospital as he recovers, she finds herself a little shocked that her judgement is so off and actually begins to enjoy social interaction and the fact that a good deed had made so many others happy.

As she begins to gain more confidence in hanging out with Raymond, her co-worker, she finds that she actually begins to enjoy life. Although she still has an unhealthy obsession with a musician she sees on stage and begins to imagine the perfect life they’d have if they ever met. For someone so socially awkward she begins a make-over process, and embraces the online world – it makes investigating the object of your desire so much easier! – and she finds that people are nicer to her. Maybe Eleanor isn’t all those awful things her mummy tells her she is every Wednesday on the phone…..

This book is cleverly broken down into 3 parts – Good Days, Bad Days, Better Days – and really delves into Eleanors’ life as she learns more about herself and those ‘bad days’ that she seemed to have blocked from her memory and that the social workers tread very carefully around. With the help of her friend Raymond and an understanding therapist she begins to feel more confident, and you really feel for her and understand why she lives the way she does to protect herself.

I found myself shedding a tear or 3 as I became so attached to Eleanor and as her past was revealed. It really brought home how we are all quick to judge people on how they look or on the way that they behave, and how many try and change who they are just to ‘fit in’ but the only way to find real happiness is to be yourself – no matter how weird you may be!

This was a touching, often fun,often heartbreaking debut and one i’d highly recommend to all.

Thank you to the publishers and NetGalley in return for a fair and honest review.