Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fineby Published 09 May 2017
|Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine.pdf|
|Publisher||Viking - Pamela Dorman Books|
No one’s ever told Eleanor that life should be better than fine.
Meet Eleanor Oliphant: She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy.
But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become the kinds of friends who rescue one another from the lives of isolation they have each been living. And it is Raymond’s big heart that will ultimately help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one.
Soon to be a major motion picture produced by Reese Witherspoon, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is the smart, warm, and uplifting story of an out-of-the-ordinary heroine whose deadpan weirdness and unconscious wit make for an irresistible journey as she realizes. . .
The only way to survive is to open your heart.
Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine Reviews
Here is a novel at the exact room temperature everyone likes, not too cold, not to hot, just right, it’s like Goldilocks finding the right bed, everybody jumps in and goes right off to sleep, no one has a bad word to say, the Guardian loved it, the Irish Times said it “hits the accessible literary sweet spot”, Costa Book Prize, Reece Witherspoon to star in the movie, five stars rain down upon Eleanor Oliphant on Goodreads until she can no longer be seen, buried beneath tons of billowy love. If The Beatles could reform they would issue a single immediately called “All You Need is Eleanor Oliphant”.
Our story is a simple one. Eleanor is the poster girl for loneliness and social isolation caused by having a frightful childhood resulting in a truly traumatic event (no spoiler : a house fire). Eleanor is 30 and has zero friends, less than zero family, a poorly paid job, doesn’t speak to her co-workers, doesn’t even have a cat or a dog or a budgie or a little worm as a pet. Not even a little tiny worm!
Eleanor has a ridiculously pompous conversational style. So unfamiliar with normal human interaction is Eleanor that she has not realised that most people do not want to be spoken to as if they are in a posh drawing room in the 1950s. It’s like she has lived without tv or radio or newspapers or magazines or anything.
Example number one :
“Let us retire to an inn or public house, Raymond – a quiet one – and please, allow me to buy you some beer in recompense for this wasted evening.”
Example two :
“You don’t need to stay long – just show face; have a cup of tea, eat a sausage roll – you know the drill.” Said Raymond.
“Well I hope they’ve at least got a high meat content and friable pastry, “ I said.
Example three: when she gets a cat (oops, spoiler!) she says :
I will assume the mantle of care… This creature will be looked after assiduously.
Example four :
“You’re a good worker, Eleanor,” he said. “How long has it been now – eight years?”
“Nine,” I said.
“Nine years, and you’ve never had a day off sick, never used all your annual leave. That’s dedication, you know. It’s not easy to find these days.”
“It’s not dedication, “ I said. “I simply have a very robust constitution and no one to go on holiday with.”
Yes, it’s quite funny, but now, come on Gail Honeyman, no one is as loopy or brusque or unaware as that. Even Eleanor would know her remark was inappropriate, embarrassing, too much information – even if she meant it to be funny, which she didn’t, because, like any Vulcan, she has no sense of humour. She is the source of the humour but never understands why anyone is laughing. It did occur to me that Eleanor was somewhere on the autism spectrum but that is never alluded to in the novel. Has Gail Honeyman created an Asperger Syndrome character without realising it or is she just playing Eleanor for some pretty easy laughs?
As well as not knowing how real people talk to each other, Eleanor has no knowledge of popular culture. She has not heard of Laurel and Hardy (“the film was about a fat, clever man and a thin, stupid man who’d joined the Foreign Legion. They were patently unsuited to it”) ; and yet she namedrops J D Salinger and the Unabomber. She doesn’t know what parking meters are :
“I’ll need to run, Eleanor – the car’s on the meter and you know what those wardens are like if you go a minute over.”
I had absolutely no idea what she was talking about but I let it pass.
As you see there are some nice comedy moments. Here’s another favourite : we all know about product placement on tv and in movies. How about reverse-product placement? This is where you aggressively badmouth a specific item quite gratuitously. Eleanor is observing someone else’s basket of purchases in a supermarket :
Eggs, bacon, orange juice and Nurofen tablets. I had to stop myself from leaning forward and explaining that he was wasting his money – this branded non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug was in fact ibuprofen 200 mg, the generic version of which was readily available for sale at perhaps one-quarter of the price.
For 70% of the time this novel is gentle comedy, of the sort you can find in sitcoms like Not Going Out or The Vicar of Dibley if the Vicar had a brain injury. But then begins the process of Eleanor thawing out and assuming a more “normal” shape. The great thing about this novel now emerges. This novel believes in ordinary human kindness as the thing which can save us, and not romantic love, and that is a great message which is very rarely heard.
But the normalising of Eleanor has some disturbing aspects. Quite often it’s like a rerun of Georgy Girl, the folksy hit by The Seekers from 1966.
Hey there, Georgy girl
Swingin' down the street so fancy-free
Nobody you meet could ever see the loneliness there - inside you
Hey there, Georgy girl
Look at all the boyfriends you don’t get
Never had a real one yet, just look at the clothes you wear
You're always window shopping but never stopping to buy
Just shed those dowdy feathers and fly - a little bit
And the dowdy feathers are indeed shed – cue humorous sketches involving bikini waxes, new hairdos and new clothes. “But Miss Oliphant… you’re beautiful!” is almost said by at least two characters.
Well. I absolutely don’t want to kick this novel down the cellar steps and have it look back up at me all begrimed with cobwebs and sing "Where is Love?" through big blobby tears. I love the gospel of ordinary human kindness here, even though it’s wrapped up in some fairly disgraceful looksism and evangelical therapyspeak towards the end. I argued myself up down and sideways about Eleanor Oliphant and finally copped out with a rueful three stars. This is a nice novel. I should be nice to it.
Eleanor Oliphant lives a fairly secluded life due to her lack of social graces and crippling self esteem and anxiety issues. She works at a graphic design firm in the finance department and spends the rest of her time at home, usually drinking. Her social life consists of a phone call with her mummy every week. Then one day she goes to a concert, for which she won tickets in a raffle, and falls in love at first sight with a musician. Eleanor decides to make some changes to herself as part of a plan to get her dream man. Meanwhile a new hire in the IT department of her company, Raymond, strikes up a friendship with Eleanor. As things change for Eleanor she is forced to confront the past and confront the real reason for her recent desire for more.
I really enjoyed this, oh man Eleanor is so quirky and endearing. Her inner monologue was excellent and I could really relate to her. I had an especially visceral reaction when [spoilers removed] because come on who hasn't had a moment like that. I've had my fair share of moments when I try really hard and then just feel embarrassed and stupid about everything I've done. Eleanor just felt so real and human. The only thing that annoyed me was the ending when [spoilers removed] because it felt unnecessary and I didn't think we needed a plot twist like it kind of ruined all her conversations with her mom for me a little bit. Everything else was really great though, definitely 4.5 stars.
4.5! What an incredible story!
“These days, loneliness is the new cancer - a shameful, embarrassing thing, brought upon yourself in some obscure way. A fearful, incurable thing, so horrifying that you dare not mention it; other people don’t want to hear the word spoken aloud for fear that they might too be afflicted.”
Eleanor’s story hit me so much harder than I expected it to. She is thirty years old, has worked at the same job since she left university, speaks on the phone to mummy once a week and drinks two litres of vodka every weekend. Eleanor Oliphant is fine.
One day, Eleanor and a colleague help assist an elderly man who’d fallen over on the street. From there we follow Eleanor and Raymond’s budding friendship, and we realise just how ‘not fine’ Eleanor truly is.
“I’d tried so hard, but something about me just didn’t fit. There was, it seemed, no Eleanor-shaped social hole for me to slot into.”
Eleanor is painfully relatable, her awkwardness at social encounters, reliance on alcohol and the burying of all feelings and past grievances, is something I feel on a personal level. It’s as if her story came to me at just the right time in my life. It was heartbreaking, honest and powerful.
“I was thirty years old, I realised, and I had never walked hand in hand with anyone. No one had ever rubbed my tired shoulders, or stroked my face.”
All of us have felt alone at some point in our lives, Eleanor’s story serves as a reminder that we are a lot more alike than we realise. A bit of kindness can go such a long way, friendship can truly be life saving.
“Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine” but after finishing this novel, I am not.
I was completely unprepared for the life of Eleanor Oliphant and that of her ‘Mummy.” To be frank, I was ill-equipped to deal with it, much like Eleanor. And it wrecked me.
At thirty years-old, Eleanor Oliphant is alone in this world. She always has been, actually. In and out of foster care since she was a little girl, she has never been touched by anyone in a loving way and doesn’t even know what that would feel like, but that’s ok. All of her physical needs are met, you see and she has never had any emotional needs.
Seeing as she doesn’t have any friends, Eleanor is quiet and socially awkward. Everyone thinks she is fairly strange, if you must to know. Not that she minds since people’s behavior makes absolutely no sense to her. She is good at being alone and she does not feel sorry for herself. Not even when ‘Mummy’ calls and viciously tells her daughter off and berates her for being being “naughty.” Eleanor, however wears a coat of armor and does her best to let her mother’s words bounce off of her.
Eleanor has no aspirations though she has done accounting at an office for the last 9 years. Every day of her life is the same and she would be nothing without routine. One night, all of that changes rather abruptly. After work, she and a coworker named Raymond whom she just met and who happens to be leaving the office at the same time as her, find themselves in the exact right place at the right time. Both Eleanor and Raymond see a man (named Samuel), go down on the sidewalk and they go have a look see and discover that he needs an ambulance. This incident ends up tying the three together and becomes one of the most significant in Eleanor Oliphant’s life. It forges a bond of friendship between them, which is something Eleanor has never experienced before in all her thirty years.
During this time, Eleanor also ends up finding him. The man she has been waiting for all of her life. The man she is meant to be with. Now she just has to get him to notice her. In trying to do so, Eleanor grows bolder and more confident. She also learns to lean on and open herself up to her new friends.
Throughout the book, Eleanor slowly experiences a metamorphosis, one that often makes you smile, laugh and of course, cry. She is damaged and quirky but oh so special. I loved her dearly. For more reasons than one. I identified with Eleanor Oliphant you see, and for that, I was unprepared. I did say that this book wrecked me right?! I get why Eleanor is Completely Fine. She had no choice. Unfortunately, Eleanor’s ‘Mummy’ is someone I recognized fairly well. When I heard her voice (in a Scottish accent) on the audiobook, and the way she spoke to her daughter, my chest got tight and my throat closed up and I sobbed. Unlike Eleanor's “Mummy” however, mine happens to be British instead of Scottish - though the accents are close, thus I therefore guess that listening to the audiobook had an even more profound effect on me. I’ve had similar conversations, in case it wasn’t obvious and I felt Eleanor’s pain more deeply as it related to her ‘Mummy’, for at certain times in my life, it mirrored my own. All that aside however, Eleanor does not go quietly into the dark goodnight (and neither did I, for what it’s worth).
Though it affected me greatly, “Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine” is without a doubt one of the most incredible, profound, and beautifully well written novels I have absorbed in ages. It wrecked me in the best and worst ways possible. In case it’s not obvious, it will stay with me for a long time. I think I came across it on purpose as both Eleanor Oliphant and I needed something from it and I think we were both lucky enough to receive it.
Published on Goodreads and Amazon on 6.26.17.
Update.....I found a copy in my notes from last year ---
Here is the review I wrote right after I read it. I realize - almost a year later I can still remember so much about this story: ELEANOR is a terrific character ... and this book is great!!! Even GROWS on you!!!
Eleanor Oliphant, almost 30 years old, is one of those odd characters we think we may have seen before in our books --- lonely - awkward - lacking social skills. She doesn't have filters when it comes to saying what she's thinking. Yet....Eleanor Oliphant has a
uniqueness that only she can claim.
Eleanor goes to the same office job - M-F 8:30 to 5:30 every day. She works as a finance clerk. She takes an hour lunch break. We know her weekday supper routines and her weekend menu. Weekends are frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy.
Eleanor's life changes after she meets Raymond, a co-worker IT guy. His sloppy -unkempt style doesn't bother Eleanor-she never had any friends to begin with and she wasn't a fashion queen herself.
Raymond and Eleanor help a man, Sammy, who took a fall -- and the three of them become allies for each other. They begin to unleash from their individual isolated lives
and bond together in a heartwarming friendship.
This story really makes you realize how valuable one friend can be. Eleanor had been stuck in ways she didn't even have the eyes to see - let alone do anything about it.
But it's Raymond -his goodness- that ultimately helps Eleanor mend her broken heart....by helping her face areas of her painful childhood she has avoided.
The story is broken down into three sections:.
Tender- touching - and plenty of heart.
This is another book that I read last year… The book was given to me last summer. I wrote a review but I have no idea where it is.
I do remember enjoying it!! I still have the book in my house. I'm walking now, I can research the review or look through the book later but it was quirky and enjoyable.......NEVER FOUND IT THROUGH GR's .... but I had a copy!