“Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine”. Well, yes this is the title of the book that I recently read. Often, it is these quirky titles that drag me to a book, and I end up reading them. But with regards to this particular one, there were other reasons as well. There were great reviews of it online, it won a handful of awards in 2017, and I loved the fact that this was an achievement of a debutant author- Gail Honeyman. It was shortlisted for the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize as a work in progress. It won the Costa First Novel Award and was chosen as one of the Observer’s Debuts of the Year for 2017.
She is Eleanor Oliphant. And this is her story
At 32 years of age, Eleanor struggles with her social skills. She’s been working for the last nine years as a finance clerk in the same graphics design company in Glasgow. She arrives and leaves at the exact same time each day and does the newspaper crosswords every day during her lunch hours. Her life is carefully timetabled- one where she avoids social interactions, spends her weekend with frozen pizzas and vodkas. Life is more of a habit for her, and being lonely isn’t really a bother. And then enters Raymond the high energy, yet un- hygienic youngster from her office.
Together with Raymond, Eleanor ends up saving an elderly gentleman called Sammy who had fallen off the sidewalk. Over the days, the three become good friends, only to realize that that each live their own life of isolation. Slowly, Eleanor begins to realize that the only way to survive is to open her heart out. She takes that step to find a way to repair her lonely soul.
Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is all about making those much needed changes in life, to overcome depressing thoughts and confronting secrets that one avoids all their life.
Quirky and entertaining
When I first started off on the book, I must say I wasn’t quite impressed with Eleanor’s character. I found her to be way too aloof in life, and did have concerns if the book would proceed ahead as per my liking. But as the book progressed and more shades of Eleanor’s character were revealed, I was pulled into it. She has a past, and a lurking guilt along with it. Her anti-social behavior is an outcome of this past. New friendships forged, tap this exterior and she seeks love and forgiveness in her life
The book has ample laugh out moments. I loved the way Gail has brought in humor, along with the descriptions of daily struggles. She speaks about the darker shades such as trauma and depression with utmost subtlety. The book does come with more than one twist in its story, but don’t you worry, all the pieces end up fitting seamlessly as that last page is turned over.
I found Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine to be a light and quirky read- a plot with just the right amount of action and drama. It is a book that stresses the need for human interaction and connections.
- Paperback: 400 pages
- Publisher: Harper Collins (30 May 2017)