Review: Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine | Gail Honeyman

“If someone asks you how you are, you are meant to say FINE. You are not meant to say that you cried yourself to sleep last night because you hadn't spoken to another person for two consecutive days. FINE is what you say.”

Book Info

Genre: Contemporary
Number of Pages: 327
Perspective: First
Location: Glasgow, Scotland

Eleanor is cringey and socially awkward with a depressing backstory. Her life is very structured and isolated until she becomes obsessed with a rockstar. During her quest to change herself to be more appealing to the singer, she becomes unlikely friends with the IT guy from her work. For a complete summary, you can go here.

Book Review

TL;DR: This one will make you feel uncomfortable, but the character development makes it worth the read.

Rating: 4/5

Full Review: My main issue with this book was that it felt like it was set up to be a thriller. (Maybe that’s why they changed the cover to a more literary vibe). There was an element of surprise, but the build-up was too big and there were too many clues that made it feel like a bubble, rather than an explosion of a reveal. It also left me questioning a lot of events from the book. I hate vague endings like that.

This book has a VERY slow start because the author spends most of the first half setting up the perspective on mundane experiences that Eleanor has and how completely oblivious she is to social cues. She is so unaware that she convinces you she is actually fine. But she is totally, completely NOT FINE. She lives in social isolation, which is very uncomfortable to read. However, I did love the growth that she experiences throughout the book. As much as this book made me wince, the author did a great job giving Eleanor a distinct voice and introducing me to someone who’s thoughts are unlike my own (I’m more the opposite where I am self-conscious of my own actions, rather than questioning why everyone else is doing what they are doing).

I do recommend this book. Overall, it was interesting and unlike anything else I have ever read. My book club read it, and it inspired one of the most in-depth discussions we’ve had in a long time. But it is definitely not for everyone. Trigger warnings: suicide attempts, alcoholism, abuse, and social isolation. If you are interested in buying the book, you can buy it here. After you have read it, leave a comment and let me know what you think!

My Rating

4 star review

“When the silence and the aloneness press down and around me, crushing me, carving through me like ice, I need to speak aloud sometimes, if only for proof of life.”

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