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Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine (2017)

by Gail Honeyman

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,2163121,938 (4.14)303
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 social interactions, 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 on the sidewalk, the three become the kinds of friends who rescue one another from the lives of isolation they have each been living. And it is Raymond's big heart that will ultimately help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one.… (more)
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» See also 303 mentions

English (301)  Italian (3)  Dutch (2)  Latvian (1)  German (1)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (309)
Showing 1-5 of 301 (next | show all)
The Short of It:

It took me years to finally pick this book up and now I am hitting myself over the head with my copy because I could have enjoyed it years earlier.

The Rest of It:

What you need to know right off, is that this book has been marketed as “funny” and “warm” and with that colorful cover, it radiates a lightness which is probably why I overlooked it for so long. It remains a popular Reese Witherspoon pick, but nowhere, anywhere have I seen any reference to the heaviness of the story.

This story has some teeth, that’s what I am saying.

Eleanor is quirky and odd and as the author put it, sometimes a bit daft. She possesses a good job and manages to be somewhat social with her co-workers when needed, but in a very, off-putting formal way. She’s efficient when she needs to be, but a complete and total disaster other times.

Early on, it’s clear that something has happened to Eleanor. It’s referred to as “the incident” and it’s left her curiously alone, living in social housing with regular visits from a social worker. This is fine. Eleanor is fine, or so it seems until she meets a new co-worker by the name of Raymond. Up until this point, she has convinced herself that her life is good but Raymond’s sweet, unassuming ways and the kindness he displays forces her to consider the life she’s been living thus far and she has found it to be lacking.

Sigh. This book! It kind of tore me up a little. It’s actually very sad but peppered with “Eleanorisms” which lightens the load as details from the past are slowly revealed. I loved it. I loved how simple the storytelling was and I liked many, many of the characters both large and small. I am sitting here as I write this review, still pondering Eleanor’s story and that is definitely the sign of a great read. It has some sweet moments and really is a story about survival.

I highly recommend it. It would make for an excellent club read. I heard that Witherspoon bought the rights to it early on, to produce a movie down the line. I see no updates on a movie being in the works but I think if there is one, it will be very successful.

This was a book on my Summer Reading List so I am glad to finally check this one off my list and add it to my list of faves.

For more reviews, visit my blog: Book Chatter. ( )
  tibobi | Jul 14, 2020 |
Heartwarming yet disturbing too. Took me a while to get into it and had to keep going back to it but was worth it in the end. ( )
  JoanneCatteral | Jul 13, 2020 |
I wanted a page-turning warm-fuzzy comfort read, and this met the need, but I don't think it's a book that deserves vast fame and am not expecting it to stick with me in any detail.

Eleanor Oliphant has been working in the same office job for many years, and spending her weekends blind drunk, mostly to block out her childhood trauma. Over the course of the book she learns about friendship, reinvents herself with a haircut, a make-over and decluttering her flat, gets therapy, and ends up much happier than she started.

I think I generally don't like othering books about non neurotypical people, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime annoyed me in similar ways. Although I thought the author did a great job of bringing a bit of nuance to it - Eleanor's crush on the rock star did not end in any sort of cringy scene, and her relationship with Raymond was warm and moving, without diving in to 'everything neatly wrapped up in a bow of Love'. ( )
  atreic | Jul 11, 2020 |
Initially I found the main character too stereotyped - tick all the boxes to present a woman who has all the classic Aspergers characteristics. As the story progressed, however, I was drawn in by the parallel storyline and still wanted to find out what happened.
A light, easy holiday read. ( )
  Mercef | Jul 3, 2020 |
Of course, Eleanor Oliphant is not completely fine, at least not at the beginning of the book. Eleanor is weird and quirky, socially inept and isolated, spending her weeks in a job at which she is competent but not liked, and her weekends with vodka and pizza. When Eleanor and an IT guy from her office, Raymond, help to save a stranger who collapses on the sidewalk, things start to change. Eleanor begins to confront her past and the events which left her deeply damaged. Charming and life affirming. ( )
  rglossne | Jul 1, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 301 (next | show all)
The human need for connection, initially scorned by Eleanor, is this heart-rending novel’s central theme. Eleanor Oliphant is most definitely not completely fine, but she is one of the most unusual and thought-provoking heroines of recent contemporary fiction.
 
From pop-star crushes to meals for one, the life of an outsider is vividly captured in this joyful debut, discovered through a writing competition and sold for huge sums worldwide...And what a joy it is. The central character of Eleanor feels instantly and insistently real...This is a narrative full of quiet warmth and deep and unspoken sadness. It makes you want to throw a party and invite everyone you know and give them a hug, even that person at work everyone thinks is a bit weird.
added by SimoneA | editThe Guardian, Jenny Colgan (May 4, 2017)
 

» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gail Honeymanprimary authorall editionscalculated
McCarron, CathleenNarratormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Aguilar, Julia OsunaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Audio, LübbeVerlagsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Audio, PenguinPublishersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Azoulay-Pacvon, AlineTraductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Beretta, S.Traduttoresecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Beretta, StefanoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Giorgio, ElisaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Karhulahti, SariKääNtäJä.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Limited, HarperCollins PublishersPublishersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mörk, Ylvasecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Maire, LauraErzählersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Montijn, HienTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
SalaniPublishersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
For my family
First words
When people ask me what I do - taxi drivers, hairdressers - I tell them I work in an office.
Quotations
Sport is a mystery to me. In primary school, sports day was the one day of the year when the less academically gifted students could triumph, winning prizes for jumping fastest in a sack, or running from point A to point B more quickly than their classmates. How they loved to wear those badges on their blazers the next day, as if a silver in the egg and spoon race was some sort of compensation for not understanding how to use an apostrophe.
I have always enjoyed reading, but I've never been sure how to select appropriate material. There are so many books in the world—how do you tell them all apart? How do you know which one will match your tastes and interests? That's why I just pick the first book I see. There's no point trying to choose. The covers are of very little help, because they always say only good things, and I've found out to my cost that they're rarely accurate. "Exhilarating" "Dazzling" "Hilarious." No.
She was shiny too, her skin, her hair, her shoes, her teeth. I hadn't even realized before; I am matte, dull, scuffed.
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Haiku summary
You laugh and you cry
as Eleanor learns how to
start living her life.
(passion4reading)

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