Gail Honeyman – Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

I’ve had this book on my shelf since it came out a few years ago and I’ve kept looking past it because I thought it was going to be similar to other books I’d read.

I couldn’t have been more wrong. I thought at the start that I had the measure of the book, socially awkward Eleanor and the person who brings her out of her shell.

But I was completely wrong, and in the worst possible way. The book was heartbreaking and left me openly sobbing in multiple points. From the start, we’re given hints to something horrible that happened in Eleanor’s childhood, but as it’s uncovered throughout the book it’s more devastating than you could imagine.

As we are introduced to Eleanor, we see that she’s not a very fancy person. She eats the same meals each day, wears the same clothes and comfy velcro shoes, carries a shopper with her. She has a routine. Work each day, listening to the archers, 2 bottles of vodka to get her through the weekend to work again. Her life is happy… or so she thinks.

Her life changes when she falls in love with a musician. At least, she thinks she’s in love. She’s never actually met him. She hatches a plan to give herself a makeover and get his attention.

And it’s while she’s doing this that she meets Raymond from IT. He’s scruffy and uncouth and not what ‘mummy’ would say is an appropriate friend for Eleanor, but there’s something about him that makes Eleanor feel comfortable, and as they start getting to know each other, you can see her starting to come out of her shell.

That is, until we get to the ‘Bad Days’. And O. M. G. That’s where it hit me. I won’t say anything else to risk spoilers, but prepare yourself because you will need tissues.

This book was a heart-breaking insight into what loneliness is like. And it only takes one person to break through that loneliness and change a life. You never know you could be that one person for someone without even knowing.

My rating: 5Average rating: 4.28
400 pages. Published in: 2017
Read in Paperbackon 22nd-23rd October 2020

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