Gail Honeyman's Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is one of the most hyped books of the last twelve months, and now I understand why. The book is focussed on the story of Eleanor Oliphant, who has endured a great deal of pain in her 30 years of existence. The pain and hurt of her childhood has left her physically and mentally scarred, and for the most part, she has had to navigate to world alone.
Eleanor's character is particularly complex. Many people who would meet her in real life, would be quick to judge her as an oddball. She talks more eloquently than her peers, doesn't understand technology and uses a landline. But as you get to know Eleanor, you begin to notice her many layers. Though she admits that she likes to be alone, living in solitude has isolated her from the rest of the world.
Enter Raymond, who is the new IT guy at work. Though I wouldn't label this book as a romance novel, her budding friendship (and potential romance) with Raymond is important to her growth in the book. She admits that before Raymond, she's never had any real friends. Finding a friendship with Raymond allows her to become more open to social interaction and becoming more welcoming and open as a person. I thought that the author was able to give a taste of a potential relationship, without focussing the whole story on her love life. Instead, romantic loved is used to show Eleanor's growth. From a reader's perspective, watching Eleanor evolve is endearing. Seeing her fall apart is heartbreaking, and reading her progression from fine to totally not fine back to fine feels incredibly real.
If I could change anything about the book, it's that I wish the ending was slightly longer. The last section seems a little rushed and the book ends too quickly. I feel like I needed another 20 to 25 pages before it ended.
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is an well-written and intriguing book centred around a complex and well-constructed protagonist. Eleanor's journey is one you will fall in love with, both her fine and not fine moments.
Release date: January 25th 2018 by HarperCollins (first published May 9th 2017)