Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Eleanor is a 29-year-old social misfit who, following years of a solitary life, sticking to the shadows, becomes enamoured with a musician, which pushes her to be more social.

Eleanor’s mix of intelligence, her unusual way of thinking, and a lack of any type of social filter make her a compelling, entertaining character. It’s humorous and delightful to follow along as she navigates everyday social situations that she’s previously avoided. A few examples:

  • In response to calls from telemarketers, she whispers “I know where you live” and quickly hangs up.
  • When her and her new colleague, Raymond, help to save a man’s life, she is later invited to visit him in the hospital. She determines she must bring a gift. As the man is a stranger and all she knows about him is that he’s an older, adult man, Eleanor carefully processes the law of averages and buys a copy of Razzle (a top-shelf pornographic magazine).
  • Not having a hanger for a coat rack in her apartment, she folds up a guest’s coat and places in on the floor in a clean corner, wondering why the guest went onto look displeased.

As the story progresses, details of Eleanor’s traumatic past begin to unfold. We begin to understand just how she arrived at her previous life of solitude, and the courage she’s showing by opening up to change. This is ultimately a story about loneliness, but one that’s underlined with hope.

If you’re looking for a story full of laugh-out-loud moments, unexpected poignancy, and warmth, then Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is just the ticket.

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