Publish Date: 05/09/17
Author: Gail Honeyman
“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. ‘Exhilarating’ ‘Dazzling’ ‘Hilarious’. No.”
Eleanor Oliphant has learned how to survive – but not how to live.
Eleanor Oliphant leads a simple life. She wears the same clothes to work every day, eats the same meal deal for lunch every day and buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink every weekend.
Eleanor Oliphant is happy. Nothing is missing from her carefully timetabled life. Except, sometimes, everything.
One simple act of kindness is about to shatter the walls Eleanor has built around herself. Now she must learn how to navigate the world that everyone else seems to take for granted – while searching for the courage to face the dark corners she’s avoided all her life.
Change can be good. Change can be bad. But surely any change is better than… fine?
I hosted an earlier giveaway for this book and then decided to host a buddy read via Instagram. As a host, I decided to read it all in its entirity before the first half was due so that I could try and help guide questions anyone had. I’m glad that I finally got around to EOICF because it’s been talked about so much for the last few years. I felt like I was missing out on the read that everyone else had already read. I was a little disappointed, not because I didn’t like it because I did. However, I think its been hyped so much that I was looking for something magical. It wasn’t bad at all like I said but not what I was necessarily expecting.
I went into the book blind which I think helped. I feel like if the synopsis was more detailed about what it was truly about, I may not have been inclined to read it. This is a very character-driven book and although I know some of us really like that, I am more in favor of books that are plot-driven. Had I known that it would be all about Eleanor just being socially awkward I may have declined to read it.
Eleanor is different to say the least. She is a child of habit right down to her food choices. She’s also extremely socially awkward and definitely missed learning social cues in her spotty education. She also doesn’t have a filter. At first all of these attributes were rubbing me the wrong way but as I read on, Eleanor’s behaviors were understandable and in all honesty, sad. Her mental health is shakey which makes sense as you read on. Although I found the book entertaining, I also felt like it was a good look into some mental health struggles and I really felt for her. I cringed in so many areas of the book in which she did something as if it was so normal and I couldn’t help but to feel for her. But even with my sympathy, I have to remember that Eleanor just wouldn’t care! She’s actually a strong woman and her quirks are her defense mechanism I believe for all that she’s gone through which is delivered in bits and pieces throughout the novel.
The book has the most dry humor (in a good way) which is something different for me to enjoy. I know they say that UK humor is definitely way more dry than US and I can see that in this novel alone.
Although I really enjoyed it, I had a hard time with the ammount of information being withheld. I knew Eleanor had some intense trauma in her life but I wanted to know the details of it. I don’t know if that’s because I wanted to make excuses for her behaviors or just part of nosy human nature. The withholding of information sometimes made it hard to feel sympathy for Eleanor because I knew there was a reasoning behind her behaviors but knew very little of the specific details besides “Mummy” being horrific and a fire that she was involved in as a child. Also as mentioned before, I am plot-driven so I wanted to know more about the details behind Eleanor’s beheaviors more than just the behaviors themselves. The plot was also a little too predictable for me but this novel is driven by characters and really not much of a plot. I usually don’t like character driven books but this is one of those exceptions for me although I had more plot questions answered and that it was a bit more complex in some areas.
I absolutely adored her growing relationship with Raymond and loved that he pushed her out of her comfort zone without even realizing he was doing so. Her lack of social skills is definetly obvious to Raymond but I think it goes to show that he is even unaware of what extent that really goes to. He is so good for her and I love that Eleanor finally experiences all she does with Raymond even when she is extremely uncomfortable or when she agrees to do things simply out of curiosity or for practice for her current “project”.
I found myself cringing, laughing, and even almost crying for Eleanor in this and even though it was a slow start and a unique read for me, it hit all of the boxes on what a great book should do.
I suggest reading it and thoroughly giving it a chance. I know so many people give up before really understanding Eleanor and I think that understanding her is a necessity to enjoy or at least appreciate her and her story.