Title: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
Author: Gail Honeyman
Date Read: August 3-19, 2017
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.
Then 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.
I have always enjoyed reading, but I’ve never been sure how to select appropriate material. There are so many books in the world—how do you tell them all apart? How do you know which one will match your tastes and interests? That’s why I just pick the first book I see. There’s no point in trying to choose. The covers are of very little help, because they always say only good things, and I’ve found out to my cost that they’re rarely accurateI have always enjoyed reading, but I’ve never been sure how to select appropriate material. There are so many books in the world—how do you tell them all apart? How do you know which one will match your tastes and interests? That’s why I just pick the first book I see. There’s no point in trying to choose. The covers are of very little help, because they always say only good things, and I’ve found out to my cost that they’re rarely accurate.
These words of Eleanor Oliphant pretty sum up how I came across to this book. For the past few months, I’ve been disappointed with myself for not reading enough as I have promised earlier this year (simply because too much Kdrama, haha!). And then 2 weeks ago, this book popped up in my recommended reading list in goodreads and the summary piqued my interest. I’ve always been a fan of stories with introverted and eccentric characters and I have a feeling that Eleanor Oliphant is one of them. So I decided to try this one. True enough, Eleanor is truly an interesting and relatable character.
At first I thought this is a funny book, but as I follow Eleanor’s routine as described in the story, I realized that her life is far from funny. While I understand why she thinks that she is completely fine from her perspective, I can’t also help but feel sad for her for having that kind of lifestyle. I know very well how does it feel living alone, and it’s true that it can get lonely sometimes even if I don’t admit it. Though unlike Eleanor, I have life outside my work and my home, and I have a lot of friends and people to whom I can talk to, so being lonely is not a perpetual thing for me. That is why I can only imagine how hard it is for Eleanor to bear all that emotions she had been bottling up for years.
Overall, I really liked reading this book because it has provided a balanced combination of wit, humor and drama. I also liked how the author pulled the story together in such a way that I did not get disappointed in the end. After all, I’m still a fan of redemptive ending. As what Eleanor has said, “In the end, what matters is this: I survived.”
P.S. Special thanks to Lynai for agreeing to buddy-read this book with me. Indeed, reading is more fun when you’re doing it with someone else?