Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine
Book review : Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine
written by Gail Honeyman, published by HarperCollinsPublishers
genre novel / fiction, 383 pages
Last year I read the Dutch version of this book, that’s called ‘Ik ben Eleanor Oliphant (met mij gaat alles goed)’. After just a couple of pages, I knew this novel was going to be one of my all time favourites. Eleanor, the main character of the story, is an extremely clever woman, and I was curious how her eloquent vocabulary would turn out in English. A couple of weeks back, I found the English version at the library and read it within a couple of days. I fell in love with Eleanor and the story all over again. And as expected, Eleanor is as fun and witty in English, as she is in Dutch!
Looking back on a difficult childhood, Eleanor is happy to be living a simple and quiet life. That her pure, honest and often unexpected (re)actions make it hard for her to fit in sometimes, doesn’t bother Eleanor. As long as she has the freedom to hang on to her strict and straightforward routine, she won’t complain. She doesn’t expect more from life, she’s completely fine with the way things are.
“No thank you,” I said.
“I don’t want to accept a drink from you,
because then I would be obliged to purchase one for you in return,
and I’m afraid I’m simply not interested in spending two drinks’ worth of time with you.”
– Eleanor Oliphant
One afternoon, Eleanor and her colleague Raymond walk out of the office and end up helping an old man who’s fallen on the street. Even though Eleanor first doesn’t want to help him, she knows has to. But what bothers her even more, is that this one deed of helpfulness comes with many other obligations. And without her even noticing it, slowly but surely her life is starting to change. Step by step Eleanor gets more and more out of her comfort zone and her horizon starts to broaden. It turns out that life has so much more to offer than Eleanor ever dared to wish for…
“But, by careful observation from the sidelines,
I’d worked out that social success is often built on pretending just a little.
Popular people sometimes have to laugh at things they don’t find very funny,
do things they don’t particularly want to,
with people whose company they don’t particularly enjoy.
Not me. I had decided, years ago, that if the choice was between that or flying solo,
then I’d fly solo. It was safer that way.”
– Eleanor Oliphant
As mentioned before; I’m a huge fun of ‘Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine’. This story can make you both laugh and cry at the same time. At times it’s sad and heartbreaking, but most of all it’s lovely and extremely funny. If you decide to just read one novel this year, have no doubts and meet Eleanor Oliphant!