Tag Archives: Penguin

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.

Review: The New Me

The New Me

The New Me
By Halle Butler
Penguin Books, 9780143133605, March 5, 2019, 208pp.

The Short of It:

Think “The Office” minus all the funny characters who make it laughable.

The Rest of It:

Millie is a thirty-something who hasn’t quite figured out how to be a grown-up. She lives alone in an apartment that is partly paid for by her parents. Friends? Not many. She eats poorly and has become a slob. Dressing is too much effort. Just getting up is too much effort but she drags herself to and from her temp job, hoping for a permanent position.

Millie embodies what I think most people this age feel these days. Their social skills are lacking to the point where everything they do is marked by awkwardness. A simple interaction with a co-worker becomes an anxiety-ridden experience and miscommunications become a daily occurrence. Millie is woefully aware of her shortcomings. Because of this, I found myself wanting to take her out for a coffee just so I could give her a little pep talk.

I really enjoyed The New Me. At first, I thought the entire book would be an outline of her day-to-day existence but although there is a lot of that (what she wears, eats, thinks, does), there is enough self-discovery going on for it all to have a purpose.

I found Butler’s take on cube life to be quite accurate. I’ve always had an office but for the past two years have been working out of a very nice, well-appointed cubical and all the little details she adds to embellish office life are spot on. The noises. The sighs. The trash cans and the smells. I found much of the book humorous but in a dark way.

The ending was interesting and honestly, can be interpreted in a couple different ways. I kind of liked that it was up to me but maybe I am the only one to see the alternate possibility? I haven’t seen it mentioned elsewhere.

Anyway, enjoyable and short and if you’ve ever had to work in a cube or struggled to get by as a young person, you will be able to relate.

Source: Review copy provided by the publisher.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.