Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman is the second book in a row I’ve read with a protagonist named Eleanor (the other one was Eleanor & Park). And it was another book which I sped read over a couple of days.
Set in Glasgow, the story is told from the point-of-view of Eleanor Oliphant. She is a 30 year old loner who lives by herself, works in a boring office job and sticks to a routine which sees her wear the same clothes every day and eat the same food. She thinks and behaves very differently from the social norm and is often perplexed by the people around her. A series of events happen which disrupts Eleanor’s ordered life and lets in other people, new experiences and dark memories from her childhood which she had been trying to suppress.
I haven’t encountered a character like Eleanor before. The way she thinks and acts throughout the book had me laughing, cringing and pitying her. I also cheered her on as she opened up more to people and life. People can be cruel to someone who marches to the beat of their own drum and at times this makes for squirmy reading. I wanted to pummel her bullies and at the same time shake her for being so clueless. That’s the measure of a good book when you get so invested in a character.
It was difficult at times to be inside the head of Eleanor. My heart broke for her. This book ran me through an emotional ringer and I felt like I shared all her highs and lows. I felt so sad for her loneliness and it was wonderful to see her blossom as she finally gets to experience kindness from others. It made me think how much random acts of kindness and accepting people who are different can make a difference in the world.
The only place where this book lost me was a twist towards the end which felt unnecessary to me. If you have read this book feel free to discuss this with me in the comments.
I can definitely see Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine as a movie as it has such strong characters. I really enjoyed reading this book and will definitely read any other books Gail Honeyman writes.
Verdict: Read this if you want to meet an unforgettable protagonist who makes you feel a lot.