Thursday, 10 January 2019

Let's talk Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Meet Eleanor, who is completely fine. Sure she's nearly thirty years old, lives alone and spends her week going to work, having a meal deal for lunch while completing the crossword section of the newspaper and then pesto pasta for dinner, but she treats herself to a pizza and a bottle of vodka on the week and is by all accounts completely fine. Except, sometimes she's not...

As the Waterstones 'Fiction Book of the Month' for February 2018, there was a lot of buzz surrounding this book. Quoted by Jojo Moyes on the cover I was sure this book would be right up my street, and it was! However it took me two attempts to get into, first being Feb last year while it was BOTM, and then again in July as a summer read where I devoured it. Following on from this experience, my advice to anyone wanting to read it is - DON’T GO IN AND TRY AND UNDERSTAND ELEANOR! JUST GO WITH THE FLOW AND SHE WILL REVEAL HERSELF TO YOU IN TIME! Once I stopped trying to figure her out and just went with it, this became a much more enjoyable read and was one of my summer highlights.

Written in the first person narrative we follow Eleanor as her completely fine life is flipped upside down. It is obvious from the start that Eleanor is on the autism spectrum and the first person narrative fits perfectly with her personality. 

Tackling sensitive subjects such as autism, depression and suicide, Gail Honeyman, having clearly done her research, writes openly and handles it in a delicate but honest way. The story is made up of “good days” and “bad days” - a true representation of someone suffering with depression and was a welcome sight as a reader struggling with depression myself.

Although she is an odd character, there is something alluring about Eleanor. What kept me reading was the desire to make sure she was ok, especially when we switch to the “bad days” halfway through. Gail Honeyman has created a complex character that the reader can’t help but feel affection for. And while there isn’t a large cast of characters, each is written extremely well and the perfect friends for Eleanor to have.

Well written, captivating plot and interesting characters it is the perfect summer read!

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