Book: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
Author: Gail Honeyman
Genre: Adult Contemporary
Release Date: 9th May 2019
My Rating: 2 stars
Yesterday afternoon I picked up a book for the first time in months. It was a random selection. I had no plans to read this particular book. I’d no idea what the book was about. I just walked into my office, picked it up and started to read.
In all honesty, I don’t really know where to begin with this book. Did I love it? No. Did I hate it. No.
There were parts that I enjoyed.
The vocabulary Gail used throughout the book was addictive. It made me want to continue reading, the writing is clever and very witty which suited the characters, especially Eleanor. However, there were times where it reminded me of Joey from Friends. Remember the episode where he is writing the letter to the adoption agency for Monica and Chandler? He learns about the Synonym button. The writing goes from being heartfelt to incoherent so fast. I just think that in some parts of the book simple would have been better.
When it gets to the characters, I think Gail did a good job at bringing them all to life. Especially Eleanor. She took a little while to get used to but once you grow accustomed to her behaviour and thought process a few chapters in it’s fine. There are even some aspects of her that I could relate to. She has her own ways of doing things and so do I. Please don’t jump to assumptions and think the worst. It was the little things, like taking my own mug to work because of germs. I do the same and have been doing so way before Covid. It made me smile.
There were so many funny, laugh out loud moments throughout the book too which I’m thankful for. Even at the beginning of the book when she visits the doctor. I actually belly laughed. Without these moments I think the book would have been completely different and my views would differ. The comical moments definitely made the book enjoyable for me.
Sadly, there are so many parts of the book that I had a problem with.
I believed that Raymond friend zoned Eleanor so many times throughout the book to assume it’s a romance it is a little odd for me. I’ve read quite a few blurbs stating that it’s a romance, and there is that presumption at the end that they are going on a date but surely not. I feel like I’m the only person on the planet who thinks Raymond is a bit of a dick. There are a few instances that I can use examples:
- He invites Eleanor to meet his mum and acts alarmed when he is led to believe she likes him like it’s not feasible.
- They plan to go to social gatherings together and he leaves Eleanor to watch him eye up and cling onto another woman.
NO! If I was still on the dating scene, I can guarantee I wouldn’t be putting up with that shit. At this point it is easy to say…’but Eleanor is socially awkwardness and might not understand what to do’. She has the sense to leave when she spots in happening, she’s not completely clueless.
The storyline with the singer (Johnnie) should have been left out completely. That went way too far. I mean going down the stalker route just has me puzzled. You can’t claim it’s not stalking either. She lied her way into his building and stood outside of his flat door watching his shadow.
Another thing I found extremely annoying was the makeovers that pop up throughout the book. I can feel myself getting wound up as I type this. There are so many books out there that create this ideal world where the main characters are beautiful and popular with the perfect family. We know that Eleanor is different. There is no perfect family, she has her flaws and she’s not popular. Although she has these imperfections she’s growing as a person and by adding the fancy fashionable clothes, the heavy make-up that will cover her scars and the new haircut it comes across as she’s not good enough as she is. Why would you want to portray that people need to change physically to be accepted in society?
I went into writing the review thinking It’s was an average read. However, I have completely changed my mind. I think there are too many issues with this book for me to be able to give it an average rating. This is a 2 star read for me and it’s only that because of the points I made at the beginning of my review. I understand that there will be a lot of people who disagree with my views which is fine. It’s down to your own interpretation, but for this to be an award-winning book I’m a little baffled.