i managed to read ‘Elinor Oliphant is completely fine’ in summer 2020 as part of wanting to read as much as i could cram in before starting my final year of uni.
i started reading this based on the recommendation of various youtubers i watch and very seeing it on various instagram posts – including Reese Witherspoon’s book club (which I would highly recommend following!). it was a lucky find from one of my multiple trips to my local charity shop, when shops were open.
this book is by Gail Honeyman – her first is also being turned into a film, after Witherspoon’s production company bought film rights. it’s a charming, unpredictable book, thought-provoking story set in Scotland.
the book is written from Eleanor Oliphant’s point of view. her life is simple. she has a set routine. she seems pretty content with how things are. according to her, everything seems completely fine.
ironically, we learn she is in fact completely not fine.
this is a reaction to what she observes is how she should automatically feel according to society. at first I was so bored with this book, but then my interest suddenly peaked. we find out more about the character – what she looks like, why she acts the way she does.
Honeyman draws upon some difficult themes including loneliness, neglect, childhood trauma, alcoholism, the importance of friendship and being social.
Eleanor’s perspective seems a little disjointed as we flicker between the present and past. i wondered what the matches represented on the cover **incoming spoilers**- we learn the scar is in fact a burn from a childhood event and ‘mummy’ gains enjoyment in putting her down because of it and why she is lonely.
From her perspective, she describes her foster care-experience as well as a budding friendship with the fellow Raymond (I totally envision Gerard Butler) who opens her up to the world of possibilities, no matter who you are, where you’re from or what you look like.
I can completely understand why readers will have a marmite attitude towards this book – I am one of many who indeed LOVES it.
I was very surprised that I found myself looking forward to read this book as the first few chapters confused and bored me a little, however I soon found Eleanor Oliphant to be completely charming and not fine.
The varying themes (loneliness, alcoholism and child trauma in particular) were fascinating as we learn more about her and her simplistic view of the world. I understand Reese Witherspoon’s production company has won the film rights for this – I look forward to seeing this on screen and do not want to be disappointed! What a wonderful, unpredictable and thought-provoking read!
i can understand why some people have a marmite attitude towards it this book, yet i found myself to love it! i looked forward to reading it. some people may think it lacks structure and a storyline, but it is based on, quite frankly, an ordinary person making the most of what they know and being content, albeit going off and discussing random things that come to mind. it happens to us all!
if you are still intrigued or confused by this review, I would recommend having patience and a very open mind if you do. Enjoy!