Book Reviews · Reviews

Review – Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman

Hey Guys. I’m back with a book review. Finally I know. I’m looking at my “to review” section of my shelf and there are about 10 books on it. Smh. Please comment with self help articles on how to deal with procrastination before I become a complete lost cause.

The book I’m going to be reviewing is Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. I’ve had this book on my kindle for a few months now and it seems everybody and dem modda have read it so I decided to give it a go.

Eleanor OliphantEleanor Oliphant has learned how to survive but not how to live. Eleanor Oliphant leads a simple life. She wears the same clothes to work every day, eats the same meal deal for lunch every day and buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink every weekend. Eleanor Oliphant is happy. Nothing is missing from her carefully timetabled life. Except, sometimes, everything. One simple act of kindness is about to shatter the walls Eleanor has built around herself. Now she must learn how to navigate the world that everyone else seems to take for granted while searching for the courage to face the dark corners she’s avoided all her life. Change can be good. Change can be bad. But surely any change is better than fine? – Harper Collins UK

 

When I read the blurb of this book, I initially thought it was going to be a hard read. Hard as in it would leave me wrecked and staring at the walls. I’m happy to say that didn’t happen. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a light read. It does deal with heavy subject matters such as child abuse, neglect, rape, domestic violence, depression, suicide, and loneliness. I know I just lost a few of you but hear me out. If there was a way to write a story about a young woman who has been through so much in a way that wouldn’t leave the reader scarred and angry, Gail Honeyman found a way to do that with this book.

Eleanor is a fully developed character whose mind I loved briefly occupying. She is a victim but doesn’t act like a typical victim. Her vocabulary is amazing, her reasoning skills and her willingness to see reason in different scenarios is nice to observe. Her personality complete with its flaws is so relatable. You root for her, you see things the way she sees them but you don’t think shes crazy, her idiosyncrasies make sense. I think the way Eleanor’s story is told is unique. Do you ever feel when you read stories where the protagonist has had a traumatic life, you hear about all the trauma in the beginning and the rest of the book is just the coping? This book isn’t written that way. Eleanor’s traumas are laid out in snippets right up until the end. You think you know everything that has happened to her but nope, there’s more but it doesn’t drag. You learn about them in Eleanor’s own time and at a pace that is comfortable for her.

Another character that I loved was Eleanor’s new and first real friend Raymond. Raymond, an IT guy with a kind heart who smokes way too much represents the good that exits in this world. I imagine having a friend like him would be a privilege. I also really loved that the author didn’t make him a love interest. I feel like that would have diminished him, made it look as if when a guy is nice to you or is a good friend to you well then yes, obviously you are supposed to end up sleeping with him and living happily ever after. Yay hero. No. Eleanor doesn’t need a hero to sweep her off her feet. She needs a true friend who helps her get the help that she needs, doesn’t push her past her limits and lets her know that he will always be there for her, no matter what. May we all be blessed with a Raymond at some point in our lives.

Reading about Eleanor’s struggles when she has her “bad days” was hard at some points for obvious reasons but I thought this book handled mental health and illness very well. It showed what is possible for people who suffer from depression to overcome when they have a proper support system and access to good healthcare. This is a topic everyone can relate to whether you have depression, know someone who does or if the news of people like Anthony Bourdain, Kate Spade etc. hits you. This book showed that there is hope in situations like that and sometimes all you have to do is all that you can do, be a good friend and that fact and the ending of this book made me smile 🙂

I really enjoyed this book and I’m glad peer pressure worked in my favour this time. Have any of you read it? Let me know what you thought in the comments.

Takeaway Lines

Twenty-first century communication. I fear for our nation’s standards of literacy.

The musicians were now on stage and had begun to play. I put my hands to my ears, unable to believe what I was hearing. Without exaggeration, it could only be described as the cacophonous din of hell.

Obscenity is the distinguishing hallmark of a sadly limited vocabulary. ( I disagree, the f word and I are friends)

The [book] covers are of very little help, because they always say only good thing, and I’ve found out to my cost that they’re rarely accurate. ‘Exhilarating’ ‘Dazzling’ ‘Hilarious’. No.

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