Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine had been on my want to read list for years. I found a used copy last year at a thrift store, and I’ve finally gotten around to reading it. This is my Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine book review.
I find that I like to read book reviews before and after I read a book, so for that reason, I have chosen to split this review into two parts. Part one will be my review without any spoilers. Part two, which will be clearly labeled, will include spoilers for those who have read the book, or for those of you that just don’t care if you read spoilers.
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Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
Author: Gail Honeyman
Genre: Adult Contemporary
Rating: 4/5 stars
Content Warnings: bullying, rape, child abuse, domestic abuse, death, suicidal thoughts, drunkeness, animal abuse, arson, & murder
Synopsis: Eleanor Oliphant has been living the same way for about 9 years; she works at the same job, drinks vodka every weekend, and doesn’t socialize. Then, one magical evening, Eleanor sees a man perform with his band, and she decides right then and there that he is “the one.” In order to prepare herself to actually meet this man, she decides to make some changes in her life.
I typically read young adult novels, so this book was a bit outside my comfort zone. Before reading, I had read mixed reviews where people seemed to either love it or hate it.
With that in mind, I didn’t really have any expectations going into this book as to whether I would like it or not. For some reason, I thought it was going to be a romance. Even though it wasn’t what I thought it was going to be, I still ended up enjoying it.
This book discusses a LOT of heavy topics (as mentioned in the content warnings above). Even though Eleanor has gone through so many terrible things, there was enough humor and light parts to this book that made it so it wasn’t completely depressing.
I found most of the characters to be enjoyable. Even though Eleanor made me cringe sometimes, she was still a terrific protagonist. It was awesome to see her character growth throughout the novel. While I didn’t relate to her very well, I still was rooting for her and wanted her life to improve.
Raymond was a character that I was undecided about until later in the book. He really grew on me as his friendship with Eleanor developed. His mother was a nice side character as well.
I don’t think I have the words to explain how much I hated Eleanor’s mother. If you took everything that you would want in a mother and tossed it out the window, then you would get her mom.
Writing Style & Formatting
As I didn’t know much going into this story, I didn’t realize that it took place in the UK. There was a lot of British slang that I didn’t understand. Also, Eleanor’s vocabulary was quite extensive, so there were times that I didn’t know some of the words. The slang and the difficult words actually added quite a bit to the writing style and characterization of Eleanor. I found it enjoyable even if I didn’t always understand what she was saying.
The chapter lengths were another selling point for me. They were pretty short, and this always makes it easier for me to read.
The plot of this book was mostly unpredictable, which helped the story along. I found the second half of the book to be more enjoyable than the first half. Although, part of the ending was a bit weird to me. Without spoiling anything, the way the author wrapped up Eleanor’s relationship with her mother was unexpected and a bit confusing. I did however like that the story ended on a hopeful note.
Overall, I would recommend this book. I can see myself maybe re-reading it in the future because it made me think a lot.
Where to Purchase
DISCLAIMER: In this part of my review, I will be including spoilers.
The fact that Eleanor had such a horrible childhood and continued to deal with those issues as an adult was heartbreaking. Her mother was one of those characters in which I couldn’t find any redeeming qualities. The fact that she abused Eleanor and her sister was awful in and of itself, but the whole arson/murder thing was just horrid.
I felt so bad for Eleanor as she spoke to her counselor because she was reliving all of the terrible memories she had pushed away. It was however nice to see that the author had a positive view of getting professional help for ones mental health. The transformation that Eleanor went through as she started going to counseling was very uplifting.
Besides the counseling, I thought that Raymond made a huge difference in Eleanor’s life. At first I was unsure about him. I think that was because for the first half of the book, Eleanor didn’t describe him in a very appealing way. As their friendship grew though, I really appreciated how genuinely kind Raymond was towards Eleanor. By the end of the book, I was really happy with how their friendship had grown. I also liked that Raymond gave her Glen the cat. That was a nice bonus to the story.
My biggest issue with this story was the ending. I didn’t really get the whole Eleanor’s mother was actually dead thing. I guess it showed the state of Eleanor’s mental health, but it was a bit confusing to me.
Have you read Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine?
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