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.
The only way to survive is to open your heart.
Considering how popular this book is, I’m surprised I was able to go in completely blind. I knew people liked it, but I had no details or spoilers. Which is good, as most of the narrative is pretty predictable, but it takes you on an emotional journey that would be less touching if you knew what would happen.
I love how flawed and normal every character in Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine can be. It made the entire book more realistic, even when some pretty intense and far-fetched things were happening. I liked that most of the main characters changed over time in ways that made sense based on how they were spending their time. And there were no miracle cures or fixes. Sometimes a lot of hard work was needed to move past or accept something, and other times it just didn’t change.
Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine traps you inside Eleanor’s head for better or worse. It’s hard to separate yourself from her because of how well Honeyman places you in this stark and lonely environment. Eleanor is logical and recovering from horrific trauma and abuse – some of which she is actively repressing. It’s both heartwarming and heartbreaking and often swings between the two with little warning.
It may have been predictable, but I thoroughly enjoyed the journey. I would highly recommend Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine to anyone else who has been slacking on picking it up.