Review: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman

Eleanor-Oliphant-is-Completely-Fine-by-Gail-Honeyman-FINALTitle: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
Author: Gail Honeyman
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication date: 18 May 2017
Genre: General fiction
Pages: 400

Eleanor Oliphant is firmly settled into her routine. She starts work at 8.30am, buys a newspaper and completes the crossword in her lunch break, heads home at 5.30pm on the dot and listens to The Archers over a simple one pot, one plate dinner each night. On Fridays, she breaks the daily routine with a visit to Tesco on her way home to buy a ready-made pizza and two bottles of vodka to see her through the weekend.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is a contender for my book of the year. A stunning debut, it explores loneliness, addiction and abuse. When Eleanor and Raymond, who works in the IT department, witness an elderly gentleman fall in the street, an unlikely friendship blossoms and the three rescue each other from the different kinds of loneliness, solitude and isolation they are experiencing.

Eleanor is an excellent character. Her voice is unique and memorable, quite unlike any other I’ve read in fiction, and she made me laugh out loud on several occasions. I love how she assumes that everyone else (especially the people in her office, who are more interested in gossip than accounts) is terrible at communication, despite the reality being that she comes across in a manner that puts others on edge.

It is really Raymond’s quiet empathy that I fell for though. I have so much respect for him.

Tender and touching, Eleanor’s story has been compared to Don Tillman’s in The Rosie Project. This is presumably because Eleanor appears to be on the autism spectrum (although this is never stated), but the tone is quite different.

A perfect blend of humour, heart and a touch of mystery surrounding her past, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is a compelling read. I have already pushed it onto my work book club and I will be recommending it to everyone I know!

I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


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