I received an e-arc of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. This did not affect my opinion of the book in any way.
Smart, warm, uplifting, the story of an out-of-the-ordinary heroine whose deadpan weirdness and unconscious wit make for an irresistible journey as she realises the only way to survive is to open her heart.
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. All this means that Eleanor has become a creature of habit (to say the least) and a bit of a loner.
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 kind 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.
Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is the story of a quirky yet lonely woman whose social misunderstandings and deeply ingrained routines could be changed forever – if she can bear to confront the secrets she has avoided all her life. But if she does, she’ll learn that she, too, is capable of finding friendship – and even love – after all.
This is a truly wonderful book! I have to admit, at first I was fairly sceptical at the prospect of yet another socially-awkward character, but very soon Eleanor won me over completely.
As we follow Eleanor through her daily routine, it soon becomes apparent that her inability to relate to others in a social context is the result of emotional and psychological abuse as a child. This becomes particularly clear during Eleanor’s weekly calls to “Mummy”, which completely chilled me to the bone.
Everything in Eleanor’s carefully planned life, however, is about to change as two extraordinary things happen: first, she falls in love with a musician while attending a concert; second, she meets Raymond, the bumbling new IT guy from her office, and Sammy, an elderly gentleman whom she and Raymond save after he falls on a sidewalk. Suddenly forced to amend her routine and looking to obtain a complete makeover to win over her man, Eleanor starts to realise that she can be loved and she deserves more than she had so far. But in order to do so, she will need to confront secrets she buried so deep, even she doesn’t remember the truth anymore – and she’ll need to do it before their weight crushes her. As she embarks on this journey of discovery of herself and the world around her, Eleanor has to come to terms with a past that is far too painful – and she has to accept that she doesn’t have to do it alone.
Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is a tiny jewel of a book. At times funny (Eleanor’s first wax had me doubled over), at times heartbreaking, always tender, this book broke my heart and put it back together several times. I loved watching the world through Eleanor’s eyes, and I felt like cheering her on at every small step she took towards regaining control over her own life. This is one character I am certain will stay with me for a really long time. I enjoyed the writing style very much, and found more than once that I did not want to stop reading. I could hardly believe this was the author’s debut! I’ll definitely look out for more of her books.