Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

I’m rather late to the Eleanor Oliphant party. All of the hardcore readers read it last year and over the last few weeks a lot of people who don’t read as much have been reading it too. I actually bought it a few weeks ago, but it had to wait its turn behind two books I was desperate to read – Three Things About Elsie by the author of a book I loved (The Trouble with Goats and Sheep) and Still Me, the sequel to the amazing Me Before You and After You.

But in the end, I had to give into the pressure. I needed to know what was so special about Eleanor Oliphant.

My initial impressions were that Eleanor reminded me of an autistic character, like Don in The Rosie Project or even Christopher in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, but in complete contrast, there were also parallels with Good Me Bad Me, because like Milly’s mother in Good Me Bad Me, Eleanor’s mother has also done something very wrong.

But Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine. That’s what she tells herself, but it doesn’t take the reader long to realise that she isn’t completely fine. Eleanor doesn’t talk to her colleagues. She eats the same meal every night and at the weekend she drinks two bottles of vodka. Every Wednesday evening, her mother phones her.

When Eleanor has a problem with her computer at work, she meets the new IT man and gradually learns what it is to have friends and start to live her life. Could Eleanor Oliphant REALLY be fine after all?

I can totally see why everyone loves this book so much because I loved it too. Eleanor is a complex and likeable character – both highly intelligent and incredibly naive. This isn’t an entirely feel good book, it has some dark moments, but it is ultimately an uplifting read. It doesn’t feel like Eleanor’s story is complete and I would definitely like to read more about her.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, Gail Honeyman, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman, Book review

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8 Comments

  1. This is on my ‘to read’ list. Funny that you should says she reminds you of an autistic character. I’m looking forward to reading it. 🙂

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    • I’m sure you will enjoy it. You’ll have to let me know what you think! You may disagree with me on her coming across like an autistic character, but she really did remind me a lot of Don in The Rosie Project.

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  2. Yep I really enjoyed it too and to be honest I couldn’t really put my finger on why. I agree though, I’d definitely buy a sequel whenever one comes out.
    Nat.x

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    • For me it was all about her total innocence as a character and her lack of perception about so much. You couldn’t fail to warm to her. I do hope there is a sequel. It will lack the surprise element of her unusual character, but would be good to see where her life goes next. I know where I want it to go!

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  3. I’ve started reading this then got distracted by a book called Miss you which you might like. Did you know they’re turning it into a movie with Reese Witherspoon in it?

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    • I didn’t know that about Reese Witherspoon! She doesn’t seem right to me – too old for starters. But who knows how she will do? I will definitely go to watch it. I will look out for Miss, but you definitely need to go back to this one! I haven’t heard a bad word about it from anyone.

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  4. I never thought of her as an autistic character when I read it, but for some reason she reminded me a little of Elizabeth from The Apprentice (not sure if you watched it, so you might have no clue what I am going on about). I would definitely like to read a sequel too x

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    • I don’t actually think she is autistic, but she care across in a very siniliar way. I really disliked Elizabeth from
      The Apprentice! Eleanor is much more naive and innocent.

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