Review: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
By Gail Honeyman
Penguin Books, 9780735220690, 2018, 352pp.

The Short of It:

It took me years to finally pick this book up and now I am hitting myself over the head with my copy because I could have enjoyed it years earlier.

The Rest of It:

What you need to know right off, is that this book has been marketed as “funny” and “warm” and with that colorful cover, it radiates a lightness which is probably why I overlooked it for so long. It remains a popular Reese Witherspoon pick, but nowhere, anywhere have I seen any reference to the heaviness of the story.

This story has some teeth, that’s what I am saying.

Eleanor is quirky and odd and as the author put it, sometimes a bit daft. She possesses a good job and manages to be somewhat social with her co-workers when needed, but in a very, off-putting formal way. She’s efficient when she needs to be, but a complete and total disaster other times.

Early on, it’s clear that something has happened to Eleanor. It’s referred to as “the incident” and it’s left her curiously alone, living in social housing with regular visits from a social worker. This is fine. Eleanor is fine, or so it seems until she meets a new co-worker by the name of Raymond. Up until this point, she has convinced herself that her life is good but Raymond’s sweet, unassuming ways and the kindness he displays forces her to consider the life she’s been living thus far and she has found it to be lacking.

Sigh. This book! It kind of tore me up a little. It’s actually very sad but peppered with “Eleanorisms” which lightens the load as details from the past are slowly revealed. I loved it. I loved how simple the storytelling was and I liked many, many of the characters both large and small. I am sitting here as I write this review, still pondering Eleanor’s story and that is definitely the sign of a great read. It has some sweet moments and really is a story about survival.

I highly recommend it. It would make for an excellent club read. I heard that Witherspoon bought the rights to it early on, to produce a movie down the line. I see no updates on a movie being in the works but I think if there is one, it will be very successful.

This was a book on my Summer Reading List so I am glad to finally check this one off my list and add it to my list of faves.

Source: Purchased
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

15 thoughts on “Review: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine”

  1. Glad u enjoyed it so much – me too. I read it twice, when it first came out and last year for my book group. The group loved it too.

    1. And surprisingly, there is plenty to discuss. I thought the author made some interesting choices towards the end there.

    1. You must read it!! It’s very good and enjoyable but with darker, meatier themes than you’d think. Plus, it only took me a couple of sittings to read it. I like books that I can throw myself into.

    1. Right. I said the same thing and look how long it took me to read it. But, it’s wonderful. I think you would really like it.

  2. I had to go read my review to see how you must have missed my saying much the same things as you! but apparently, I never wrote a post. oh well! Yes, I clearly recall listening to the audiobook and being blown away. Dark humor, NOT funny exactly but oh so lovable.

    1. It definitely had funny moments but when you go into the story you realized that they were not really funny at all. Awkward moments of a person trying to make the best of the life she’s been given.

    1. Yes. Reese is slated to play Eleanor but I’ve not seen any updates on it. Of course, with COVID all projects are delayed. Who do you imagine as Raymond? Honestly, I kept seeing Zach Galifianakas in the role as I was reading.

  3. I absolutely LOVED Eleanor Oliphant! I am so glad you enjoyed her/the book, too. I got my daughter to read the book and she loved it as well, in fact we refer to it quite often.

    1. I could tell after reading just a few pages that I was going to like it. I wonder if Reese will follow through with the movie. She is supposed to play Eleanor too. I loved Raymond.

  4. I definitely agree! This book was somehow simultaneously warm and heartbreaking and I loved it so so much ❤️❤️

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