Eleanor Oliphant is Completely FineEleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
Published by Pamela Dorman Books / Viking on May 9, 2017
Pages: 336
View Title on Goodreads
Bantering Books Rating: five-stars

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.

Bantering Books Review

Eleanor, I miss you.

It’s only been a day since I finished the fantastic, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, and I feel as if I am missing something . . . or someone. I spent a mere five days or so, engrossed in this novel, but by the end of it, I felt as if I knew Eleanor so well. So intimately. And now that she’s gone . . . now that the story is over . . . I feel a sense of loss.

Because I love Eleanor. I love everything about her — flaws, quirks, and all.

Sure . . . she’s a socially awkward, socially isolated, judgmental, 30-year-old curmudgeon. She says exactly what she thinks, whenever she wants to say it, to whomever she wants to say it, and is absolutely clueless when it comes to social graces. She’s lonely, may or may not be on the autism spectrum and is, unfortunately, afflicted with various mental health issues.

But amidst all that, Eleanor has a good heart. She just hasn’t learned (yet) how to open it.

The novel begins with an immediate introduction to Eleanor. She thinks her life is fine. She thinks SHE is fine. But is she really?

Eleanor Oliphant is a beautifully written character study of a very troubled woman. The story is not plot-driven; neither is it exciting, nor pulse-pounding. But it is one that is exquisitely written, with phenomenal characterization. Gail Honeyman has created a truly unforgettable character in that of Eleanor . . . and also of Raymond, the kind, sweet man who helps Eleanor find her way.

Eleanor’s story is one that is quite dark. She is a victim of multiple forms of abuse. Her life consists of working five days a week and then spending her weekends alone, with bottles of vodka as her closest friends. At work, she deals with snide comments daily from her co-workers and then receives further verbal snipes during her weekly phone calls with Mummy.

But even though the backdrop of the narrative is so tragic, Honeyman ensures that the reader is not dragged down into a pit of blackness. She infuses the story with warmth and the perfect amount of humor, by way of Eleanor’s inner monologue and conversations with people. Eleanor is just so, SO funny. Albeit, the humorous moments are often at the expense of others, but what makes it okay . . . or, at least, okay enough . . . is that Eleanor doesn’t have any idea that her thoughts and words are rude. She doesn’t understand that she shouldn’t say EVERYTHING that crosses her mind. And that lack of awareness just makes Eleanor all the more endearing.

Eleanor Oliphant is a novel about finding yourself . . . about facing your fears, however big or small. Eleanor takes chances; she tries new things. She steps out of her comfort zone and ventures to new places, with new people. She forces herself to learn to feel ALL emotions, rather than stifle the majority of them, as she has done her entire life. And most importantly, she learns to love others . . . (and a cat!). . . and allows herself to be loved in return. All this because she realizes she wants more from her life.

I think Eleanor may be one of the bravest characters I have ever encountered.

And I believe we all can learn a lesson or two from her. I learned many.

Oh, Eleanor . . . I am so happy to have met you.