Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is one of those books I’ve been meaning to read for years, but just never got around to. Until now. I think 2019 is the year of me getting to a lot of books I’d been putting off reading. And I’m so glad Eleanor is one of the books I finally picked up.
(All reviews are spoiler-free unless otherwise noted.)
(From Goodreads) 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.
Reading Eleanor Oliphant was kind of a rollercoaster for me. For the first half of the book, I honestly didn’t love the protagonist. Her awkwardness made me really uncomfortable – which didn’t really go away as I progressed through the novel. And the fact that she was so confident in being socially awkward (I can’t think of a better way to put it right now), just made me cringe. Honestly, I have a problem with being overly empathetic toward fictional characters, which made it hard to handle Eleanor at times.
But I also felt bad for her, especially at the beginning of the book. You do get the sense that there is a reason she is the way she is. And, even though it was what she was accustomed to, her life in the beginning of the novel made me sad. Her routine rarely involved other people, and, when it did, their interactions usually didn’t go well. I really just wanted someone to help her, and for her to accept that help.
This was a difficult book to read, because I couldn’t take a lot of it at once. I had to keep putting it down, and I honestly forced myself to get through the beginning of the book. But then it got so much better. I read the second half in one sitting, and it really gave me hope that it could get better. If you’re anything like me, this book will probably make you intensely uncomfortable, kind of impatient, and maybe a little depressed. But it will also make you smile, and then it’s all worth it. My one (minor) complaint is that the ending feels a little rushed, but I do think it fits the story.
I do think the second half of the book balanced out the beginning. And it’s not that I disliked any part of this book, I just had a hard time taking Eleanor in large doses. Which was not made easier by the fact that I could kind of imagine myself becoming her. I can definitely be socially awkward, and I can get overly excited about certain things that haven’t happened yet. I identified with Eleanor, and it honestly kind of hurt. But, like I said, this book is worth it. It was a great read, just don’t go into it expecting it to be fun.
★★★★☆ – I liked Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. It reminded me a little bit of The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion, but darker and less funny. I can see why so many people love this book, and I’m really looking forward to seeing Reese Witherspoon’s adaptation (not coming soon, but it looks like it is happening).
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is available in bookstores now. You can pick up your copy on Amazon.
To get the audiobook for free, use this link to sign up for a free trial of Audible and choose Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine as one of your two free books.
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