Book Review

September '17

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine (Hardcover)
Gail Honeyman

I read this book in two days, and now I wish I had taken more time - because I really miss Eleanor!  She is delightful, and the book is a well written, page turning novel.

Main character Eleanor is a lonely, single, 29-year-old Scottish woman who insists that she is completely fine. She observes strict routines of week days at work (same clothes, same job, no interaction with anyone) and weekends alone with large quantities of vodka and pizza.

Eleanor speaks formally, wiht an antiquated speech pattern and vocabulary that keep regular people at arm's length.  And she is fine.  Until she develops a school girl crush on a rock'n'roller whom she dreams of meeting. A necessary work interaction with Raymond, the grubby new geek in IT begins to thaw her icy heart, and leads her to consider that maybe, just maybe, she could begin to allow some tiny change, even some people, into her life. To the author's credit, the Raymond-inspired character development is not based on "the knight in shining armor riding up on a white horse" scenario, but rather, a unique friendship that leads Eleanor to look into her very unhappy childhood and see how it has restricted her.  Issues with her "Mummy"are alluded to in their weekly Wednesday night phone call, but not elucidated (through the skill of a patient therapist) until the very end of the book, creating a pleasant suspense.

This story was inspired by an article the author read about loneliness, and here she has examined that concept through Eleanor's eyes, and in a constructive way.  It is hard to believe that this is a debut novel!  Publicity says that the author was signed to a two-book deal, and that Eleanor is soon to be a major motion picture produced by Reese Witherspoon. I enjoyed this book very much, and highly recommend it for both pleasure reading and book club discussion.