Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine tells the story of 30 year old Eleanor who goes to work Monday to Friday where she does everything by the book, doesn’t socialise, doesn’t have any hobbies, eats the same lunch and dinner every day, goes home on Friday night with a bottle or two of vodka, and blacks-out til Monday when she can control her life again.
We know Eleanor experienced a childhood tragedy, but the true extent of how it has impacted her isn’t revealed until nearly the end of the book. She stoically gets on with it without realising she hasn’t dealt with any of it, until her life unravels.
This is a great book of friendship, feelings, and how much impact your childhood has, whether you realise it or not. And also how much your work family can – and should – be there for you – we spend more time with our colleagues than our real family; my favourite jobs have been when I’ve made the best friends at work.
The writing is witty and kept me engaged. I also enjoyed reading this book with my very English friend’s voice as Eleanor – I had to send her this passage:
“Sport is a mystery to me. In primary school, sports day was the one day of the year when the less academically gifted students could triumph, winning prizes for jumping faster in a sack, or running from point A to point B more quickly than their class mates. How they loved to wear those badges on their blazers the next day! As if a silver in the egg-and-spoon race was some sort of compensation for not understanding how to use an apostrophe”
Thoroughly enjoyed Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine and wanted to start reading it again immediately to see if there were any hints of the tragedy earlier in the book.
Rating: 5 stars, according to my book review scale
Book Group book: March 2019