Book Review: Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Rating: ★★★★★

Goodreads Synopsis:

No one’s ever told Eleanor that life should be better than fine

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 unnecessary human contact, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy.

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, the three rescue one another from the lives of isolation that they had been living. Ultimately, it is Raymond’s big heart that will help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one. If she does, she’ll learn that she, too, is capable of finding friendship—and even love—after all.

Smart, warm, uplifting, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is the story of an out-of-the-ordinary heroine whose deadpan weirdness and unconscious wit make for an irresistible journey as she realizes. . .

the only way to survive is to open your heart.

~❀~

Ahhh I loved this book so much!

First of all, it was so refreshing. I feel like the past couple of books I read were kind of heavy or just difficult to find a rhythm with, but with Eleanor Oliphant, I so easily and deeply fell into the story.

It’s easy to break social conventions at times, because even when your intentions are well-meaning, there are countless unspoken rules in society to be mindful of. I really liked the way Gail Honeyman explored this through Eleanor’s character, whose tendency to say things as she saw them made her come off as rude, even when she didn’t mean to be. Ultimately, what I took away from this was the necessity of balance.

This book suggested that even though these rules are frustrating and pointless at times, they still reflect how intertwined society is, and thus making the conscious effort to adhere to them can convey mutual respect. However, other times, it’s necessary to recognize the absurdity of such rules and reject them. The way in which each individual chooses to balance the two is what forms different values and personalities. In this book, Eleanor rejected conventions (primarily because she was never really taught to act otherwise), but she was still portrayed as a sincere, relatable character, highlighting that these differences in humanity are something to admire, not shun.

This, of course, leads us to Raymond, who helped Eleanor to grow through his benevolence, despite her naivety in the realm of sociability.

I really loved the dynamic between Eleanor and Raymond because it was just so wholesome. They helped each other gain a stronger sense of self and in the balance they provided each other, they grew. I audibly laughed out loud in the scene where they went to the metal/punk concert together and every scene with the two was just so pleasant in the way they were so amicable and genuine.

Something I really appreciated was that though there were hints at a possibility of romance, it was never the focus of the story. Eleanor flourished because of Raymond’s kindness, but her growth was ultimately one of her own accord.

Overall, the storyline and character growth of this book was just so heartfelt and authentic, dark moments and all. It was well-developed: not too dramatic but not too slow either. The book really resonated with me and it was just such a wonderful, touching read (even the title was perfect 😊). I’d highly, highly recommend it.

“Although it’s good to try new things and to keep an open mind, it’s also extremely important to stay true to who you really are.”

Honeyman, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine

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