Book review: Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is one of those books that have been on my TBR for a long time and when Evalinah and Simant asked me for a buddy read I just jumped at the chance. So shall we get on with it?

About the book

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine

Book Name: Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine

Author: Gail Honeyman

Genre: Fiction – Drama

Characters: Eleanor Oliphant, Raymond Gibbons, Laura, Sammy

Setting:  GlasgowScotlandThe UK

The plot

Eleanor Oliphant is a twenty nine year old  blunt and has not mastered the social etiquette yet. She has been living alone for a long time and barely speaks to people. She has had a difficult relationship with her mother, her only relative always but now she sees a light in the form of a guy, a musician apparently. 

She has it all planned. All she had to meet him, he will realize she is the one for him, they will fall in love and a happily ever after was destined. But she was not ready to bump into Raymond, a office coworker nor meeting his mother. 

What happened in her past that affected her so much? How did Raymond’s presence alter her path? You will have to read Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine to know more.

My initial thoughts

I am nowhere like Eleanor in real life but somehow I could relate to her thoughts. And that is where the author shines. She has written a character who is full of flaws and is annoying, unlikable, yet believable and relatable. 

Things that worked for me

  • I think the strength of the book was its well developed characters.
  • I liked how the tension and suspense about Eleanor’s past was maintained till the end. 
  • There are lots of funny moments that had me chuckling loud in the public.

Things that didn’t work for me

The plot is character driven so if you are waiting for that plot twist, it isn’t coming.

As part of our buddy-read review Evalinah, Simant and I exchanged questions for each of us to answer. You can hop to their blogs and check out their answers.

Evalinah’s questions

Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine has some bigger than life concepts and ideas. What’s the biggest lesson you took away from it? Has it affected how you view things in life at least a little bit? 

I loved how Eleanor was a go-getter and was never afraid to push her limits. Be it the makeover or the bikini wax, she was ready to try them because she needed to. She is a strong woman not because of her circumstances but despite them.

If you liked Don Tillman from the Rosie Project, #EleanorOliphantIsCompletelyFine is right up your alley. Read my #review here #bookblogger Click To Tweet

Since Eleanor is a very unreliable narrator, the first things we hear about Raymond are somewhat repulsive because she sees him very negatively at first. But then we indirectly learn that he basically has a heart of gold. What was your “reader’s journey” in regards to Raymond? Did you start seeing him as a “book boyfriend” eventually, or..?

Raymond reminded me of Roy from the IT crowd, right from the beginning. I loved how he wasn’t portrayed as just another guy and we all fell in love with him directly. 

What did you think of the writing style? Namely, the way we were always given Eleanor’s sometimes ridiculous opinions first, and only then learned the truth indirectly through actual events? What do you think this gave to the story, especially when it comes to how we see Eleanor and her changes?

I remember us updating each other (while reading) about the mystery about the ‘past’. She had us hooked right where we wanted and even though we were able to kinda predict we stuck through it to see how it panned out. 
And I think that is where the author won as a writer.

Check out her post here

Simant’s questions

Eleanor is an unlikable character in the beginning. It’s not that we generally meet such people in daily life. She is one of the oddest characters I’ve ever read. But as the story progresses, we start connecting with her and understanding her better. 

Why do you think it is so? Why we felt connected to her though we don’t relate to her on so many levels? Or if you do resemble her in some way, share your experience may be? 

I think at some level we all relate to her because she says aloud things that we all think. I think those rough edges helped Eleanor win us over. 

Throughout the book, there is a mystery about Eleanor’s mother. Off course, in the end, the mystery is resolved. Do you think this twist was necessary for the overall growth of the story? The ending we expected for Eleanor arrives eventually, so don’t you think this mystery angle was tiresome to stretch out till the very end? 

I kinda guessed what it have been (more or less) but I think without that mystery I don’t think I would have enjoyed the book as much.
It made us (the reader) keep thinking about it even though Eleanor was not ready to deal with it yet. I Like I said before, this book is not about the plot twist, it is more about the characters. 

This novel is a mix of humour and a darker plot. There were some thought-provoking sections, like Eleanor’s relationship with money. She was always highly conscious about how much she spends and is not willing to pay for social occasions etc. But since she had no one else to take care, I think it made sense that she was keen on safeguarding her personal finances.

What do you think about this? Also, do you think Raymond’s introduction in her life changed her views on lots of things?

I think Raymond opened up Eleanor to a whole lot of things and emotions that she didn’t understand earlier. She obviously didn’t have a normal childhood nor adult life, and she definitely needed someone to guide her through these social etiquette. 

Check out Sim’s post here

Bottom-line

As someone who avoids series, I rarely say this but I wish there was a sequel coming up to Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine. I have not got enough of Eleanor Oliphant. If you liked Don Tillman from the Rosie Project, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is right up your alley.

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Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine

Let us chat

Have you read Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine one before? If so what do you think of it? Do you like reading about characters with a traumatic past? Let us talk.

19 COMMENTS

  1. I remember seeing this book on all three of your IG stories and feeds and I had my eyes on it since then. But I’m a very plot-driven person so I’m a little skeptical about picking up this book. Though, at some point when I’m reading a few plot-driven books together, I’ll add this in as the character-oriented one. Loved the review and your discussions <3
    Fanna recently posted…March 2019 – Ten Books To Look Out For This MonthMy Profile

  2. omg I wish there was a sequel too!

    I absolutely love character-driven novels – sometimes you don’t need an action plot – the people in it ARE the plot.

    I loved reading this book – for me it was slow at first but by the end I was glad I preserved.

    Great post!
    -Lena

  3. Great comparison to Don Tillman! I didn’t think of that – maybe because he was less of a dramatic character and more just straight out funny. He didn’t have a past like Eleanor.

    Haha yes, he also reminded me of Roy, except Roy is kind of more like Eleanor in regards of how he handles people 😀 (I LOVE that show.)

    Also, I know everyone always misspells my name, but can you please fix it? 😀 My nickname is avalinah, my name is Evelina. None of them is Evalinah, which is what people often go for xD I think I messed up when I branded my blog’s name but it’s much too late for that now haha 😀
    Evelina @ AvalinahsBooks recently posted…Eleanor Oliphant Broke My Heart And Glued It Back Together In Three EveningsMy Profile

  4. I feel like I quit this book too early. I tried to read it, twice, and stopped both times, because it had me so depressed, but it’s listed as up-lit, so maybe I just have to push through.

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