Book review - Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine by Gail Honeyman
“The lonelier a person gets, the less adept they become at navigating social currents. Loneliness grows around them, like mould or fur…”
~ Olivia Laing, The Lonely City
Wow - did I love this book! I’d heard a few people raving about it (Ok I’m late to the show with this and I imagine there are a fair few peeps who have already read this on their summer jollies), but for some reason I just wasn’t drawn to it. That is, until I picked it up in Sainsbury’s and read the blurb on the back and the reviews in the inside front cover. Into the shopping trolley it went! I don’t think I saw my family much that week - from the moment I started reading it, I just couldn’t put it down - it consumed me!
The author writes so beautifully, and the way she portrays the protagonist (Eleanor, in case you haven’t guessed) and paints a picture of her everyday life, is nothing short of amazing - truly original. I instantly fell in love with Eleanor - her awkwardness, her eccentricities, her nonconformist nature and her frankness. I laughed aloud at the wry, droll things Eleanor would say, think and do, made all the more comical by her lack of humorous intention. Yet as I laughed, the storyline was utterly heartbreaking - underneath everything it’s a story of solitude, isolation, loneliness and suffering.
Eleanor is a single young woman who clearly doesn’t have a place in conventional life. She keeps herself to herself, and nonchalantly shrugs off the cruel remarks and sniggers of people she comes into contact with, at work, at the shops, in the street… She has no family, and not one single friend to call her own.
The story alludes to a dark secret or mysterious tragedy, buried in her past - the reason why she has no family, the reason why she no longer trusts anyone but herself, and the reason why her face is scarred. This reason is what kept me turning the pages, hungry for more.
Then one day a stranger reaches out and Eleanor encounters acts of kindness that she’s never experienced before. She starts to feel again. As the story progresses and Eleanor emerges from her introverted self and begins to reconnect with society and the world around her, the book will have you routing for her as she starts to navigate her new found life.
A truly original, thought provoking book, which is devastating and heart warming in equal measures. Read this and you will laugh, and boy - you will cry (I defy anyone to not shed at least a couple of tears). You'll also thank the Lord for people like Raymond.
Reese Witherspoon has optioned it for film, and I simply CANNOT WAIT to see it! I’m really intrigued to see who will play Eleanor, and I wonder if it will stay true to the book and be set in Scotland or if it will be Americanised.
Have you read it yet? Who do you think would be great for the part of Eleanor?
Much love, Fran xxx
ABOUT FRAN GRANT
Fran Grant is a writer and children's author. She is also the wife of a very patient husband and the mother of 3 energetic little boys. As a self-confessed bookworm and book hoarder, she is a huge believer in keeping the magic of reading alive for children. After many years in the corporate world, Fran is now fulfilling her lifelong ambition of writing books.
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