Title: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
Author: Gail Honeyman
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Category: Young Adult
Series info: Standalone
I found this on Instagram, like I seem to find every other other book nowadays. And like usual, Instagram didn’t let me down.
Trigger warnings: depression, suicide, PTSD, alcoholism
Eleanor Oliphant’s routine is set. She works all week, spends time on crosswords during her breaks, reads books at home and drinks two bottles of vodka during the weekend to make it go faster. She doesn’t have friends or anyone to spend time with.
“When the silence and the alone-ness press down and around me, crushing me, carving through me like ice, I need to speak aloud sometimes, if only for proof of life.”And so, Eleanor speaks to her plant.
One day, an act of kindness by her new colleague towards someone on the road in her presense sets off a chain of events. Through that one act, dominoes of events and people fall into her life.
Eleanor also sees a singer during a theatre performance and instantly falls in love with him. She’s convinced that Johnnie Lennon is the perfect man for her, and now she just has to make sure that they meet. Eleanor becomes obsessed with having a perfect life with him and making the right first impression, which leads her to making changes to her life as well.
The book is more than her making changes to her life, though. These changes cause her to finally face how she’s been living and also face her past.
I don’t really know how to review this book, because it’s so many things and one thing at the same time. I also have no clue how to articulate my views and feelings exactly.
Eleanor is a very complicated character. It took me a few chapters to properly understand her. Initially, I didn’t want to like her. She judges people very quickly, and is often rude in her judgement. A while later I felt sympathetic for her.
To be honest, I didn’t completely understand Eleanor until I had read most of the book. There are so many facets to her. You have to read through the book and learn every single one of them. There’s the well-read Eleanor, with a tremendous vocabulary; the lonely Eleanor, with no one to truly talk to; the socially inept Eleanor, who is awkward in conversation with people; the depressed Eleanor, because of her abusive mother; and so much more.
“I feel sorry for beautiful people. Beauty, from the moment you possess it, is already away, ephemeral. That must be difficult. Always having to prove that there’s more to you, wanting people to see beneath the surface, to be loved for yourself, and not your stunning body, sparkling eyes or thick, lustrous hair.”
We slowly get to know Eleanor through her experiences, thoughts, and opinions. I love the writing of the book because of that. It’s clear that we don’t know her well, and at many turns we peel back another layer to Eleanor. It made the book immersive. I felt like I was truly getting to know her.
Eleanor is widely read, and has a great vocabulary. (She’s very smart as well) This was, simultaneously, annoying and nice. She used a lot of words that I haven’t come across before and, hence, I needed my phone nearby to look up words all the time. It kept breaking up my reading, but I’m glad for it as well. I miss learning new words from books. I actually MARKED all the new words that I came across so I could go through them again.
My favourite part of the book is Eleanor’s journey. Eleanor goes through so much in the span of this book. I was inspired by her journey and her path to healing and self-forgiveness. She finally faced her past and her demons after reaching thirty years of age. That was beautiful to watch.
If I had to summarize why you should read this:
- Amazing mental illness/depression rep.
- Amazing healing rep.
- A brilliant and complicated character.
- Immersive writing.
I recommend Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine to EVERYONE because Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine and YOU SHOULD KNOW WHY.
I rate this book..
Have you read this book? Do you read books talking about mental illnesses?