Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman. Book report #4 (2020)

This book was not even on my radar. But, a few weeks ago, I gave a presentation on goal setting at work, and mentioned some of my own goals (writing more blog posts, not buying more books). A friend and colleague left this book for me with the delightful note, including (having ready my other post about this year’s list) letting me know which categories it belonged with. A true kindred spirit.

I didn’t know what to expect from this one, and confess I had a hard time getting started on it, as the first bit made the eponymous Eleanor seem quite horrid and shallow. Soon, I was hooked, and while it didn’t keep me up half the night, it did keep me up reading on a work night (several actually), which is no mean feat. And at nearly 400 pages, it is a long one for me – finished in just under a week is impressive at my usual snail’s pace of reading.

The dislike I felt for Eleanor at the beginning is, I believe, intentional; the author intends for Eleanor to be known and understood slowly, and my initial feelings mirrored those of Eleanor’s co-workers who did not know anything about her. The gradual (and sometimes painful) removal of her walls and disguises feels natural and unhurried, and my affection for Eleanor grew immensely, as she grew into herself. Her work at overcoming her past and learning to cultivate, nurture, and enjoy friendships is truly heartwarming. It helps (for me) that she has a terrific vocabulary and is quick-witted and funny.

Thank you, dear friend, for sharing this with me. I enjoyed it immensely.

6 – an author’s debut novel
7 – a book written by a female author
8 – a book that has been or is being made into a film
13 – a book with someone’s name in the title
24 – a book by an author whom you’ve never read

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