10/52: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine


Kath's Bookshelf / Sunday, March 18th, 2018

This year I’ve decided to have a go at reading fifty-two books before 2019 (while documenting it over on my Goodreads account). Yesterday I was horrified to see Goodreads terrifyingly labelled me “1 book behind schedule.” Today I finished the very popular Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. Now, I sit smugly, having just edited my progress on Goodreads, feeling a little less intimidated by the “2018 Reading Challenge” section on Goodreads. Suck on that, Goodreads. But for now, let’s talk Eleanor Oliphant.

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Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman follows a lonely protagonist, who contently follows her handmade routines. Work, pizza and vodka. Nothing more, nothing less. She works a job she landed immediately after graduating, years later, still as confused by her workmates as they are by her. But routines are for breaking and she soon realises she’s quite fond of what can come of changing a habit or two. She forms a friendship with a work colleague, lends a helping hand and pursues a love interest.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine brings us a story of loneliness; a story I find unsurprising to have seemingly become a modern classic. I’ve started to feel a little numb upon reading a critic choosing to label a book “life-affirming,” whether I ultimately agree or not. Honeyman, however, has created the most life-affirming book I’ve read yet. It’s the kind of book that has to be turned into a film. I can imagine leaving the cinema exactly how I felt upon closing the book. I just felt like Honeyman had finished her story in a way I’ve needed every author to before now. I felt reassured.

Eleanor Oliphant is a character like none other; and yet, probably a little or a lot like us all. Following her thoughts is often amusing; often heartbreaking. I laughed out loud throughout a lot of the book; I felt my eyes well up as hers did throughout parts too. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine has given bookshops a story that is both light-hearted and entirely weighted. Loneliness is somewhat of a taboo. We don’t ever want to be lonely; our friends and family musn’t ever think we are lonely. Eleanor Oliphant is most certainly lonely but she’s content in being so. Yet, when she starts to live another version of her life, she realises just how lonely she’s been… and just how lonely she doesn’t have to be. Honeyman teaches us all that welcoming others into our lives and talking through our problems is by no means weak; nor is it counterproductive. Eleanor Oliphant has given us a voice that has been long overdue.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine definitely deserves the hype it’s acquired. It’s charming and sweet; heartbreaking and uplifting. You’ll find yourself sobbing as much as you find yourself chuckling. And you certainly won’t want to put this wonderful book down for longer than five minutes. I am very much on the Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine Hype Train and I won’t be getting off until everybody I know has read it.

I rate Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman as 5/5!

You can…

  • Buy the book on Amazon HERE!
  • Check out other reviews of this book on Goodreads HERE!
  • Read my review of the ninth book I’ve read this year HERE!

“In principle and reality, libraries are life-enhancing palaces of wonder.” – Gail Honeyman.

Love, Kath

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