REVIEW: ELEANOR OLIPHANT IS COMPLETELY FINE, BY GAIL HONEYMAN

 

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. 

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.

Soon to be a major motion picture produced by Reese Witherspoon, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is the smart, warm, and uplifting 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 Thoughts: I had heard such good things about Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, so I was not surprised to find myself irresistibly drawn to this socially awkward yet brilliant young woman. Her routines seemed to define her, and I could understand how reassuring they were. She seemingly denied any problems or issues, assuring everyone repeatedly that she was fine. Being alone and apparently friendless was a way to show her strength and her capability.

But along the way, as Eleanor began to long for someone special in her life, she built up a fantasy life around a handsome singer, and started changing her appearance, from hair and makeup to new clothes, to make herself more appealing. She was also becoming friends with Raymond, the somewhat strange IT colleague, and gradually began to join him for lunches, outings, and even parties. She bloomed.

But then something happens that topples her carefully constructed reality…and she has to accept help. At last.

I loved how we learned bits and pieces about her life, through her first person narrative. But she kept most of her secrets close to her vest until finally, through therapy, she could confront the pain and trauma of the past. I loved Eleanor, and wanted to keep reading about her. I am looking forward to the movie. 5 stars.

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