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The Seven Rules of Elvira Carr: A Novel by…

The Seven Rules of Elvira Carr: A Novel (2017)

by Frances Maynard

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It took me a bit to get into this book. At first I found it a little slow and didn't really connect with the characters. However, as the story progressed and Elvira's life changed it did improve. Many of the characters were quite well written, although I did feel that the neighbours were a little charactacturistic (is that a word?). The reactions to Elvira I can understand, and it was interesting to read about the condition from the sufferer's point of view.

I haven't read Eleanor Oliphant...not sure whether I will based on this book. However, it is book 10 out of 12 from the library and it is one I wouldn't have picked to read otherwise. ( )
  peelap | Feb 3, 2019 |
Strangely moving, simple story about a woman on the autism spectrum (never called that, only later in the novel her Condition) whose mother has a stroke. In fending for herself, she makes a list of rules for behaving in what she eventually discovers is called the NormalTypical world. But since it's told completely from her point of view, it comes out as a charming story, and the reader really understands how she thinks about things. Despite a few glitches, this narration is consistent and reliable, and makes it a book worth reading. ( )
  lisahistory | Jul 19, 2018 |
1: Being Polite and Respectful is always a Good Idea.
2: If you Look or Sound Different, you won’t Fit In.
3: Conversation doesn’t just Exchange Facts - it Conveys how you’re Feeling.
4: You learn by making Mistakes.
5: Not Everyone who is Nice to me is my Friend.
6: It’s better to be too Diplomatic than too Honest.
7: Rules change depending on the Situation and the Person you are speaking to.

These are the understandings that Elvira, 27, British, and somewhere on the autism spectrum, writes out when her protective but domineering mother has a stroke and is hospitalized. This is an inspiring book.
Frances Maynard tells this story in a sensitive but believable and real-life, hard-knocks sort of way. Some people take advantage, abuse, trick, and cheat Elvira, but others aid, mentor, care for her. Over the next several months, Elvira makes lists and schedules, learns to deal with money, volunteers at an animal shelter, and manages to live on her own.
With the help of a neighbor, she writes out her most important list - seven rules, her understanding of some of the unwritten rules of getting along with friends and strangers. ( )
  mykl-s | Jun 4, 2018 |
The Seven Rules of Elvira Carr by Frances Maynard is a very highly recommended look into the life of a twenty-seven year-old neuro-atypical woman.

Elvira Carr lives a very restricted life with her authoritarian, overbearing mother. She does tasks for her mother in their home and she goes to the store. Elvira follows the rules. She enjoys biscuits, has amassed a lot of information about each kind, and collects the packages. She also takes what people say at face value, which can be troubling.

When her mother has a stroke and Elvira is suddenly on her own, she knows she needs to make sure she is adapting and fitting into a world she has little experience navigating through. She sets up a meal schedule. She keeps the house clean. Her neighbor Sylvia helps her follow the bus schedule to visit her mom and expand her understanding of the world. When she takes a computer class and actually buys a computer, Elvira discovers that there are groups online of people just like her who find ways to fit into the world of Normal-typical people.

This is when Elvira writes her list of seven rules that will help her move around the world without getting into trouble and perhaps even have her differences go unnoticed. Sylvia helps refine and explain areas Elvira questions. The rules help Elvira understand the world and some of the troubling questions she has about her life with her mother and father.

The seven rules are:
Rule 1: Being Polite and Respectful is always a Good Idea. Rule 2: If you Look or Sound Different, you won’t Fit In. Rule 3: Conversation doesn’t just Exchange Facts - it Conveys how you’re Feeling. Rule 4: You learn by making Mistakes. Rule 5: Not Everyone who is Nice to me is my Friend. Rule 6: It’s better to be too Diplomatic than too Honest. Rule 7: Rules change depending on the Situation and the Person you are speaking to.

The writing is quite good. The narrative has Elvira experiencing a number of challenging incidents and her reactions are realistic and sometimes heartbreaking. Elvira will have your full support and devotion as she works out a way to live among the normal-typical people and their figures of speech that can be so troubling and difficult to understand. The only minor quibble I had with it was the convenience in the plot that her mother was wealthy enough to have a trust fund set up for Elvira so she could stay in her home. It worked for a heartwarming fictional story, but was a tab-bit too fortunate and opportune in the real world.

This is a wonderful, touching, and charming, novel about a young woman, likely on the Autism spectrum (although it is never specified), and how she figures out a way to cope in the real world of normal-typical people. You can tell that author Maynard works with adults with learning disabilities as she handles her character with an insight and compassion that sets this book apart from many others. It can be favorably compared to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and Be Frank With Me. The Seven Rules of Elvira Carr would be an excellent choice for a book club.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Sourcebooks.
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2055690357 ( )
  SheTreadsSoftly | Jul 10, 2017 |
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"Elvira Carr believes in crisp schedules, clear guidelines, and taking people at face value. She lives at home with her overbearing mother, who has deemed her unfit to interact with the rest of society. But when her mother has a stroke, Ellie is suddenly forced to look after herself. She quickly comes up with an ingenious way of coping with the world: the seven social rules spreadsheet. Unfortunately, Ellie soon discovers that most people don't live their lives within a set of rules. As she experiences social missteps and awkward encounters, Ellie continues to learn - about herself, and the people around her. And she'll need this new knowledge if she hopes to pave the way to living life on her own terms."--… (more)

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