Title: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
Author: Gail Honeyman
Publisher: Viking Canada
Publication Date: May 9, 2017
Synopsis 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 timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy. All this means that Eleanor has become a creature of habit (to say the least) and a bit of a loner. 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.
What a fantastic book! I borrowed this book from a friend and it came highly recommended. It definitely lived up to the hype. Eleanor is this socially awkward, unconventional, and quite strange individual. She doesn’t really relate to those around her, assuming they don’t understand the nuances of social convention when in actuality, she’s the only who doesn’t quite get it. She’s often the odd man out and holds her self to an incredibly high standard of intellect and social conduct, even if that doesn’t necessarily fit in with what the rest of the world would consider usual behaviour. She’s almost obsessive about it, but as the book unfolds she experiences significant change, awareness, and growth. Eleanor struggles with mental illness and grief throughout the book, although she herself is not fully aware of it until later in the plot.
I really hated Eleanor in the beginning. She comes off as abrasive and overwhelming. She seems pretty unapproachable and for the reader, it’s tough to get to know her. But, there’s something about her that keeps you hooked. I grew to love Eleanor as this story progressed. She’s witty and smart, even if she has trouble relating to those around her. She makes incredibly interesting and astute observations about her world–although she’s not quite as good at recognizing struggles in herself. Eleanor is working through the unimaginable in this story and she comes to know herself in such a beautiful, heartbreaking, and healing way. There is so much transformation in this book–it’s like watching a caterpillar form a chrysalis and emerge as a butterfly.
This book is the perfect blend of quirking and amusing, but also heart-wrenching and sad. It’s beautiful in its exploration of family, tragedy, and mental illness. It’s got ALL THE FEELS, guys! It’s one woman’s journey of growth and learning, of healing and acceptance, and of learning to overcome and emerge stronger on the other side. I really loved this story and I would recommend it to anyone again and again.