Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail HoneymanEleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine

byGail Honeyman

Paperback | May 9, 2017

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about

Soon to be a major motion picture produced by Reese Witherspoon

Named a 
New York Times 2017 "Books to Breeze Through This Summer"

Winner of the 2018 Costa First Novel Award

Winner of the 2018 British Book Award for Debut Novel

Longlisted for the 2018 Women's Prize for Fiction

No one's ever told Eleanor that life should be better than fine.

Meet Eleanor Oliphant: She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she's thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding unnecessary human contact, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy.
     But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen, the three rescue one another from the lives of isolation they have each been living. Ultimately, it is Raymond's big heart that will help Eleanor find the way to repairing her own profoundly damaged one. And if she does, she'll learn that she, too, is capable of finding friendship—and even love—after all.
     Smart, warm, uplifting, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is the story of an out-of-the-ordinary heroine whose deadpan weirdness and unconscious wit make for an irresistible journey as she realizes the only way to survive is to open your heart.
Gail Honeyman is a graduate of the universities of Glasgow and Oxford. Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine was shortlisted for the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize as a work in progress and is Honeyman’s debut novel. She lives in Glasgow, Scotland.
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Title:Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely FineFormat:PaperbackDimensions:336 pages, 8.99 × 6.02 × 0.9 inPublished:May 9, 2017Publisher:Penguin CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0143199099

ISBN - 13:9780143199090

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine Relatable story, loved every minute of it. Seeing Eleanor evolve throughout the book was incredible.
Date published: 2018-10-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing Read! Couldn't put it down! Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine is a wonderful story from the first page onward. The characters are original and they feel so real. Fell in love with Eleanor and how relatable she is (most of the time), and that ending just blew me away. Would 100% recommend this.
Date published: 2018-09-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Refreshing Such a great story. At first, Eleanor Oliphant drove me a little crazy.. she is a complete nut job! But she sure grows on you. There is much to the story that explains why she is the way she is. A great read!
Date published: 2018-09-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful Couldn't put it down, Eleanor is hilarious and totally relatable #plumreview
Date published: 2018-08-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Awesome read Pleasantly surprised....................you will absolutely love Eleanor - for her wisdom, her sense of humour, her candor.....................not to mention her host of human frailties.
Date published: 2018-08-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent! omg I absolutely loved this book. You will fall in love with the main character, Eleanor. I decided to read this book as it was listed on Reese's Book Club pick for a particular month. She picks some great books to read.
Date published: 2018-08-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I love Eleanor! I absolutely loved this book! I connected with Eleanor so much. I never wanted it to end. I will re-read this book in the future and tell everyone to read it! BRAVO. #plumreview
Date published: 2018-08-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Nailed the dry humour Dry humour is really hard to translate in writing. Often find authors and comedians missing their landing with their lines but Honeyman did a great job. This book made you laugh and at the same time make you think about mental health and its' spectrum.
Date published: 2018-08-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome!!! This book is happy, sad, and hopeful all at the same time. Overall, it reminds the reader to always be kind. I think this might be my best read for this year. I love Eleanor.
Date published: 2018-08-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A great read! This was a book that I wasn't sure I would like at the start, but then Eleanor sucked me into it! The author does a great job of dropping just enough hints to keep you hooked. Eleanor is very direct and strangely loveable, so you just can't help rooting for her. There is also a fair number of pointed remarks about society that the author just subtly slips into her writing that I thought was exceptionally well done! I'll definitely be reading future books by Gail Honeyman!
Date published: 2018-08-04
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Disappointment Considering the reviews of this book I was really expecting much much more out of it. What was Reese Witherspoon thinking endorsing this so profusely? There are so many other books that I read this year that are so much better. It is still somewhat interesting if you have nothing better to do or read, but the book really drags on and on
Date published: 2018-07-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing Picked up this book after seeing it on Reese Witherspoon's booklist and I'm so happy I did!
Date published: 2018-07-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it!!! I absolutely love this book, in fact, it is one of my favourite books that I’ve read in awhile. Maybe ever. Eleanor is a fantastic character and Honeywell has portrayed her perfectly with quirky humour and dry wit. She’s a woman who insists that she is completely fine, despite the fact that she has no friends, eats the same meal every day, and drinks her way through the weekends. She doesn’t understand social cues and the glimpse we get into her mind as she navigates her world is both wonderful and tragic. Honeywell has also done an amazing job of revealing just parts of Eleanor’s story at a time, leaving us wondering what has happened to her and why she is the way she is. I highly recommend this book. There are lines where I actually laughed out loud, there were moments where I saw myself and my own social awkwardness, and there were times when I was cheering for Eleanor and her stripped down sensibilities.
Date published: 2018-07-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Absolutely Amazing I enjoyed how quickly I became immersed in viewing the world through the eyes of Eleanor Oliphant! She is quite simply the funniest protagonist I have experienced. The entire novel was simultaneously heartwarming and heartbreaking and I loved every moment of it.
Date published: 2018-07-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Must Read I loved this book - I laughed and cried. Can't recommend this book enough.
Date published: 2018-07-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Mental health rep! Finally a novel where a damaged character isn't magically "healed" of their mental health issues from a romance. This book depicts a really great image about therapy and counselling. Eleanor is charming.
Date published: 2018-07-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from READ THIS BOOK! This book is laugh out loud funny! I had to keep bugging my boyfriend to listen to me read excerpts aloud to him of Eleanor's escapades. It is also a bit heartbreaking, but ultimately really uplifting as well as Eleanor goes on a journey of learning to accept others for who they are, and to love herself as well. Highly recommend!!!
Date published: 2018-06-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Soooooo good! Cheesy as this sounds - you'll laugh and cry and really hope that Eleanor Oliphant is just fine!
Date published: 2018-06-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Loved it This was a great read! Incredible story. great character.
Date published: 2018-05-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing. I can't say enough great things about this book. It made me cringe, laugh, cry, and miss the characters once I was through reading it.
Date published: 2018-04-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Quirky and interesting This book wasn't at all what I'd expected, but I still really enjoyed it! It was unique and fascinating. Plus, the ending took me totally by surprise.
Date published: 2018-04-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from engaging the ending took me by surprise so i was pretty pleased with the way it turned out
Date published: 2018-04-17
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good. Not amazing. There are lessons we can take from Eleanor Oliphant: reduce the filters we apply to human interaction, face our truths, no matter how painful. Like the reviewer Maria, I was also reminded of The Rosie Project but agree that this book is better. I could identify with elements of Eleanor, and see her in my friends. It is a likeable book with a uplifting ending, a good book to read on a flight or while in bed with the flu (which is when I read it). It is not overly complex or cerebral, while still being entertaining and having worthwhile messages.
Date published: 2018-04-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from My favorite book this year so far!! I'd heard good things about this book so I went into it with high expectations and does it deserve all the high praise!! Eleanor reminds me of Angela from the US TV show The Office but she's much more likeable. I recommend everyone become inspired by Eleanor!
Date published: 2018-04-05
Rated 3 out of 5 by from An interesting read, but kind of boring... 3.5 stars. I think I have a bit of an unpopular opinion on this one. I appreciate what Gail Honeyman did with this book and I actually do think it's a really good story, but I was just so bored for a lot of this book. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine reminded me in parts of The Rosie Project (but better) and A Man Called Ove (but not quite as good). Eleanor is seemingly fine; she gets up every day and goes to work, she talks to her mum every Wednesday, and every Friday she purchases a bottle of vodka and spends the weekend alone in her flat. She likes routine, she dislikes emotion, and she believes she is completely fine. Her routine is disrupted when she meets Raymond, the IT guy from her office, and together they witness an old man, Sammy, have a heart attack in the middle of the street. They take care of him until EMS arrives and check in on him as he recovers in hospital. For the first time in her life, Eleanor finds herself enjoying time with other people - building relationships and miking plans outside of her normal routine. This is definitely a good book. I don't want to say any spoilers, so I'll try and talk in general terms, but I really like Eleanor's evolution throughout this novel. The changes in her do feel very natural and believable and I didn't think any of the interactions were forced. The novel climaxes at a very odd spot, about the 70% mark, but I did like watching Eleanor grow and heal throughout the last 30%. I liked that it wasn't rushed or that she's not just suddenly better, because that is not believable. I absolutely loved Raymond. He was so down to earth and accepting. The thing I didn't like about The Rosie Project was that I didn't ever really buy into Rose and Don's relationship, but I had no problem believing Eleanor and Raymond's. Eleanor is a bit of a social outcast, but she's also pretty likable and funny and I liked that Raymond was able to laugh with her and accept her little quirks and idiosyncrasies. Taking the time to write this review and reflect on the book is actually improving my opinion of it (and I still have a book club meeting coming up, which might lower or increase my rating). I do think this is a good story, hence why I'm still giving it 3.5 stars, and it did make me think a lot afterwards. But I just can't ignore that I was bored for a lot of the reading of the novel. I know this book is narrated the way Eleanor thinks, which is mostly without emotion, but I am a very emotional person, so I found it really hard to engage in the story and I never felt anything tugging at me to pick this book up again once I put it down. And that's totally fine. These are still important stories that should be told, it's just not necessarily for me. It still helped me appreciate the way that some other people experience and move about in the world and I don't regret reading it. Just not going to be a favourite.
Date published: 2018-03-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from entertaining! was not totally in love with the twist at the end but otherwise loved it.
Date published: 2018-02-16
Rated 3 out of 5 by from it was okay I was low key excited to read this book, especially because it was nominated for many awards and was on lots of top reads lists. It's not that it was poorly written per say, but I didn't like how important the role of a guy was in Eleanor's recovery. It's not a bad read, I wouldn't not recommend it but I also wouldn't highly recommend it. I also probably won't ever reread it.
Date published: 2018-01-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Quirky, unique story of love- not in the way you expect What I love about this book (besides just about everything) as that it didn't end in an overly cheesy way. Eleanor Oliphant makes you fall in love with her and her story, which has a charmingly authentic ending. A feelgood read with a few dark twists, this book has something for everyone!
Date published: 2017-12-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Rare Gem I want to get a job at Chapters so I can choose this as my Staff Pick. No, scratch that. I want to set up a table filled with copies and sell them to everyone who comes through the door! What I thought I was getting was an easy read with a quirky but loveable character. What I got was an emotional tour de force with a whole cast of quirky, loveable characters. Eleanor will stay with me for a very long time. What a magnificent debut novel.
Date published: 2017-11-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I will remember quirky and damaged Eleanor Oliphant forever! "Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine". Yeah... sure. If you fell off a cliff and someone stumbled across your prone body on the ground and asked "How are you?" and you replied "I'm fine". That kind of 'fine'. When strangers say they are 'fine', they are usually not - and everyone is essentially a stranger to Eleanor. "It wasn't that I needed anyone. I was, as I had mentioned, perfectly fine." From page one of this marvelous book, I loved Eleanor. Yes, she is socially inept (to put in mildly), yes, she can be rude, abrasive, intolerant, and even (unknowingly) unkind. Still, I loved her. She is quirky, strange, highly intelligent, judgmental, and lonely. Oh, so lonely... "When the silence and the aloneness press down and around me, crushing me, carving through me like ice, I need to speak aloud sometimes, if only for proof of life." Although she has a degree in Classics, she works in the unexciting field of accounting - keeping the books for a digital design firm in Glasgow. Her routine never varies. She works, she buys food, she goes home to her council flat, she sleeps. Repeat. Repeat. The only day that is slightly different is Wednesday, when she speaks to Mummy. Until the weekend, when she buys at least two bottles of vodka to make the time pass until she can go to work again. "I rarely imbibe alcohol in public. I only really enjoy it when I'm alone, at home." Eleanor confesses to an unconventional upbringing. We know that she has a nasty scar on one side of her face, and others on her hands. There was an 'incident' when she was ten years old. After that time she was in foster care, with myriad different foster parents, siblings, and homes, all of which culminated in her going to university. "Mummy has always told me that I am ugly, freakish, vile. She's done so from my earliest years, even before I acquired my scars." Eleanor is now thirty years old. She knows this because she saw the date on a stranger's newspaper. She had forgotten it was her birthday. An easy thing to do when no one knows it is your special day - and when no one has ever given you a birthday gift. When her computer malfunctions at work, the new IT guy comes to her assistance. His name is Raymond, and he will unknowingly change Eleanor's life. She thinks he is unkempt and she disapproves of his clothing and shoes. She hates that he always smells of cigarette smoke, and that he chews food with his mouth often open... Also she thinks him a 'spectacularly unsophisticated conversationalist'. Strangely, over time, they become 'pals'. I loved that Eleanor's favourite book was "Jane Eyre". She identified with Jane as both she and Jane were left with so much pain at a young age. Her only quibble with the story was that there is insufficient mention of Pilot. Because, as she says, "You can't have too much dog in a book." Because Eleanor has no knowledge of what is socially acceptable behaviour , no experience to have learned it, no one to teach her how to conduct her life, she has no filters. She believes that honesty is the best policy, so she says exactly what she thinks. Often to the chagrin, or, sometimes amusement, of those around her. Near the end of the book, Eleanor procures a female rescue cat which she calls Glen. (named for the brand of vodka she drank). Their relationship was wonderful. Eleanor was such a strong and memorable character. I will never forget her. While visiting Eleanor's world I was sad for her, I cried copiously, and... I laughed aloud. Any book that has the reader running that gamut of emotions is a stellar read in my book. You MUST read this book!
Date published: 2017-10-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Love it. I loved getting to know Eleanor. She is simply honest and quirky. She is funny without even knowing that she is. I have not read many books set in Scottand. That was interesting. Great book. I will recommend it. It would make a great book club choice.
Date published: 2017-10-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A sweet read Elanor Oliphant was a quick and light read, but was also uniquely interesting. Getting to know the characters was a treat, and I was actually quite sad to get to the end of this witty piece of writing. The book takes place in Scotland, and I found myself looking up the names of stores and brands mentioned in the book in order to get some context. I quite loved this book - I'll be happy to pass it on to a friend so that they can get as much enjoyment out of it as I did.
Date published: 2017-10-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from love the social awkwardness! eleanor oliphant is so socially awkward - i love it! this book is quite comical... can't wait for the movie to come out!
Date published: 2017-09-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic read! I really enjoyed this book! Eleanor is not your typical character - she is a little off and funny without meaning to be. I liked how the author unfolded everything. My favourite part of the book was the language with which Eleanor spoke - fantastic vocabulary! I love when a book can expand your vocabulary.
Date published: 2017-08-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Loved it! This book had everything in it. A great story that had all your emotions going at once at times. It was such a well written story!
Date published: 2017-08-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from hilarious, heartbreaking and heartwarming all at the same time! I am so glad I read this book after reading all the hype. I was looking for a light read, and while this book gets dark and deals with some serious issues, Eleanor is a laughable character and lighter moments help to break up the trouble she's faced in her life. This is one of the best characters I've read in a long time. I couldn't put the book down.
Date published: 2017-07-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent debut novel This book was excellent. I was surprised to see that it was a debut novel, because it definitely did not read that way. This book, like an onion, revealed itself in layers. Each chapter slowly peeled away another level of Eleanor Oliphant and I went from disliking her to adoring her by the end of the book. I cannot comment too much on the book without giving away everything. It was exceptionally well-written, with beautiful and delicious language.
Date published: 2017-07-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent read! 5/5 - "Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine" by Gail Honeyman This book is about a socially awkward and quirky woman named Eleanor who lives in Scotland. Eleanor is a lovable character who tries new things and develops friendships after experiencing a complicated past. This book was excellent with a very surprising ending.
Date published: 2017-07-04
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Excellent Characters; Letdown of an Ending this was an interesting reading experience. early on, i was charmed by eleanor's oddities, but eleanor's tragedies were heartbreaking. it was quite a line honeyman wove between the aspects of eleanor's complex personality. i think the comparisons to The Rosie Project and The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry are a bit unfair and misleading. 'eleanor' is a much heavier, darker story, even though the 'quirk factor' and charm are present in all books. i felt honeyman did a good job writing about social awkwardness, loneliness and friendship, trauma, addiction, and mental health - until the last part of the book. for me, it all wrapped up too quickly and easily for such deep-level issues. there is a bit of a twist in the tale too (though one i did see coming, yet held out hope honeyman wouldn't go there), and this really didn't work for me; once the reveal happens, there is no further exploration and it is part of the pat ending. there were a good number of relatable moments in this novel, including this bang-on gem: "It's not you, libraries, it's me, as the popular saying goes. The thought of books passing through so many unwashed hands - people reading them in the bath, letting dogs sit on them, picking their nose and wiping the results on the pages. People eating cheesy crisps and then reading a few chapters without washing their hands first. I just can't." so, overall i did like this book, but much was lost in the ending for me.
Date published: 2017-07-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I adored this book Eleanor Oliphant is much more than fine - she is magnificent! 10 Stars, absolutely loved every minute of it. Beautiful and creative language. Eleanor is awkwardly and heartbreakingly charming.
Date published: 2017-06-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic read! I read this book in 1 day. The prose is well written, fast paced, full of humour and emotionally moving. The main charchter grows with you with each page and leads you to an unpredictable but happy ending. I thoroughly recommend this book. Enjoy!
Date published: 2017-05-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Eleanor Feel good and feel bad all perfectly mixed up together. #plumreview I received an ARC through a giveaway.
Date published: 2017-05-19
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Eleanor Oliphant is completely lovely. I made a mistake. Before picking up this book I looked at a few quick snippets of reviews - you know, those taglines that claim a book is like "such and such" a book. And that kind of decreased my enjoyment of the book. You see, I read that Eleanor was the female version of Ove (from A Man Called Ove) (whom I absolutely adore) and so I had that in mind ... and she wasn't really that. At least not to me. I also started reading this book when I was pretty exhausted and so I can't say that I committed to reading it as well as I should have from the beginning: it did take me a minute to warm up to Eleanor and her story. That said. 3.5 stars. Eleanor is wonderful in that she remains true to herself; smart, comfortable with who she is, unapologetic for being honest. She made me smile a number of times thanks to her social interactions - she never felt awkward, even though as a reader you know that perhaps she had messed up or misread a situation. So it's especially lovely to meet Raymond and Sammy and Bob and a handful of other characters who accept her for who she is. Aware that perhaps she won't do what is socially acceptable, but that she has a kind heart and means well. This is a story about a woman who is coming to terms with her past, who is welcoming other people into her life, and adapting to what comes her way. It's a really lovely story that will give you all the feels - just like Ove did (oops... I guess I do see the resemblance). I have to say that the ending was especially nice; I liked that Gail Honeyman didn't try to turn Eleanor into someone she isn't; what you see is what you get. She grew as a person without changing who she really is. Recommended read. ps. And because I can't help myself ... If I were writing a tag line for this book it would be that Eleanor is the female Don Tillman from The Rosie Project ... and that Raymond is her Rosie
Date published: 2017-05-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Loved it. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, the debut novel by Gail Honeyman, was something I had decided to read as a break from my regular reading rotation. I wanted something a little lighter and uplifting. Although this novel was not what I was expecting (I didn’t find it to be a “feel good” story at all), I really ended up enjoying the quirky Eleanor Oliphant and was connected to her story. Coming of age elements, some deeply complex characters and humorous chick lit, were blended to create a story that both entertaining and made me think. The novel opens with the introduction of Eleanor Oliphant (she would probably be annoyed as I write this review, as she prefers Miss. Oliphant. I am not her friend. Things would need to be formal), who is about as quirky as they come. She struggles with social skills, follows a strict routine (same clothing, same activities, same two bottles of vodka every Friday night) and says exactly what is on her mind. One day, after a chance run in with Raymond, an IT guy from her office, they save an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk and the three become a mismatched trio. As Raymond forces Eleanor to look into her past, her deeply ingrained routines could be changed forever and Eleanor starts to realize, maybe she does deserve friendship-and love- after all. The novel is broken down into three sections: Good Days, Bad Days and Better Days. In a way, the plot comes full circle and so does Eleanor. I loved Eleanor; she reminded me a little bit of one of my aunts who is on the Autism spectrum. In fact, I almost stopped reading this one at one point because I felt so sad with the way people were treating her! However, I got a little bit of solace from the fact that Eleanor truly didn’t mind! Her banter throughout the novel had me cracking up; I found her narrative voice to be extremely endearing. If you want a realistic novel that will make you think and get into your heart, than look no further, Eleanor Oliphant was a breath of fresh air into my reading rotation.
Date published: 2017-05-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Nice Story I was sent this book for free in exchange for an honest review*** I really enjoyed this! it took me a little bit longer to get into than I would have liked, but once I did, I really liked it. it just took the story a bit of time to really get started, I guess. plus Eleanor was such a nob in the beginning and I just effing hated her. But once things got going, and Raymond was in it more, and Eleanor was getting a bit more socialized, it turned into a really nice story. Eleanor even made me laugh out loud a few times! I really loved Raymond. he was such a sweety. ♡♡ The story touches on a few important subjects like depression and other mental health issues. The friendship that formed between Eleanor and Raymond was favourite part, though. It was such a sweet friendship and Raymond was such a good guy.
Date published: 2017-04-30
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is not for everyone. Trigger warnings: suicide, depression, and addiction Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is recommended for fans of The Rosie Project and Where'd You Go, Bernadette. I now know not to read those books. The biggest issue I had with this novel is the writing style. Stream of consciousness writing is not for me. I find it tedious and annoying. It contains too many irrelevant intimate details about the main character's thoughts and feelings. There are so many instances of information that goes on for pages that are ultimately useless. If he author had not written in a stream of consciousness style, I would have rated the novel four instead of three stars. Eleanor as a character is okay. I found her unlikeable because I wasn't able to identify with her on any level. She is too far removed from human interactions, so when she does speak with others it's tense and awkward. By the end of the novel, she started to rub off on me, but not enough to redeem the novel as a whole. The secondary characters, Raymond and Sammy, are delightful. I was better able to connect with them over Eleanor whenever they interacted. What makes this novel worth reading is how mental illness is portrayed, more specifically depression, addiction, and loneliness. Eleanor's issues are organic and are NOT used as a plot device. Eleanor lives her life as best she can and copes with her depression in the few ways she knows how. Depression presents itself differently in each person, so it was refreshing to see it displayed in a very non-stereotypical fashion. Overall, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is not for everyone. The stream of consciousness writing style is a burden to the story being told thereby making Eleanor an unlikeable character that who is hard to identify with. However, the portrayal of mental illness in a breath of fresh air in an otherwise cloudy area filled with novels glorifying illness and using it as a plot device.
Date published: 2017-04-16

Read from the Book

Janey the secretary had got engaged to her latest Neanderthal, and there was a presentation for her that afternoon.  I’d contributed seventy-eight pence to the collection.  I only had coppers in my purse or else a five-pound note, and I certainly wasn’t going to put such an extravagant sum into the communal envelope to buy something unnecessary for someone I barely knew.  I must have contributed hundreds of pounds over the years to all the leaving present, baby gifts and special birthdays, and what had I ever received in return?  My own birthdays pass unremarked. Whoever had chosen the engagement gift had selected wine glasses and a matching carafe.  Such accoutrements are unnecessary when you drink vodka—I simply use my favourite mug.  I purchased it in a charity shop some years ago, and it has a photograph of a moon-faced man on one side.  He is wearing a brown leather blouson.  Along the top, in strange yellow font, it says Top Gear.  I don’t profess to understand this mug.  It holds the perfect amount of vodka, however, thereby obviating the need for frequent refills. Janey was planning a short engagement, she’d simpered, and so, of course, the inevitable collection for the wedding present would soon follow.  Of all the compulsory financial contributions, that is the one that irks me most.  Two people wander around John Lewis picking out lovely items for themselves, and then they make other people pay for them.  It’s bare-faced effrontery.  They choose things like plates, bowls and cutlery—I mean, what are they doing at the moment: shoveling food from packets into their mouths with their bare hands?  I simply fail to see how the act of legally formalizing a human relationship necessitates friends, family and coworkers upgrading the contents of their kitchen for them. I’ve never actually been to a wedding ceremony.  I was invited to Loretta’s evening reception a couple of years ago, along with everyone else from the office.  It was in a horrible hotel near the airport, and we organized a minibus to get there; I had to contribute to the cost of that, in addition to my bus fare into town and back.  Guests were obliged to buy their own drinks all evening, which shocked me.  Entertaining is not my area of expertise, I’ll admit that, but surely, if you are a host, you are responsible for ensuring that your guests are provided with a libation?  That’s a basic principle of hospitality, in all societies and cultures, and has been since recorded time.  In the event, I drank tap water—I rarely imbibe alcohol in public.  I only really enjoy it when I’m alone, at home.  They did at least serve tea and coffee later in the evening, free of charge; this was accompanied by poor-quality savory pastries and, bizarrely, slices of Christmas cake.  For hours and hours, there was a disco, and terrible people danced in a terrible way to terrible music.  I sat on my own and no one asked me to dance and I was absolutely fine with that. The other guests did seem to be enjoying themselves, or at least I assume that to have been the case.  They were shuffling on the dance floor, red-faced and drunk.  Their shoes looked uncomfortable, and they were shouting the words of the songs into each other’s faces.  I’ll never go to such an event again.  It simply wasn’t worth it, just for a cup of tea and a slice of cake.  The evening wasn’t completely wasted, however, because I managed to slip almost a dozen sausage rolls into my shopper, wrapped in serviettes, for later.

Bookclub Guide

READERS GUIDEIntroductionAn Introduction to Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine  “My life, I realized, had gone wrong. Very, very wrong. I wasn’t supposed to live like this. No one was supposed to live like this. The problem was that I simply didn’t know how to make it right.” (p. 232) Twenty-nine-year-old accounting clerk Eleanor Oliphant tends to stick to her routine: work all week, buy a supermarket pizza and two bottles of vodka on Friday, and spend the weekend alone in a drunken stupor waiting for Monday to arrive. Eccentric, awkward, and judgmental, Eleanor might sound like the very definition of an antiheroine, yet in debut author Gail Honeyman’s hands, she is refreshingly honest and utterly relatable. With a sharp, albeit unintentional sense of humor and a deeply flawed self-image that makes her all the more sympathetic, Eleanor Oliphant has become one of the most lovable characters in recent fiction—and her creator, Gail Honeyman, has become one of the most celebrated new authors on the international literary scene. As the novel begins, Eleanor is an opinionated young woman who makes sweeping and often laugh-out-loud pronouncements on everything from duffle coats to bikini waxes. But what first appears to be the narrative of a prudish and harmless loner soon gives way to reveal darker undercurrents, from Eleanor’s childhood in foster homes to an adulthood punctuated by abusive phone calls from her absent mother. In fact, entire years seem to be missing from Eleanor’s past, and ominous memories rise up which she can’t explain to anyone, most of all to herself. Two events, however, begin to coax Eleanor out of her shell. First, she develops an unexpected crush on a local musician, Johnnie, and, despite never having met him, she embarks on an imaginary love affair—convinced they have a future together. Second, Eleanor and her colleague Raymond rescue an injured elderly man, Sammy, and this act of kindness sets off a ripple effect in which she both builds a relationship with Sammy and his family and forges a friendship with Raymond. Eleanor may be tone-deaf to social convention, but with Raymond’s bemused guidance, she begins to imagine leading the kind of normal life that she never thought possible before.  But just when Eleanor begins to feel truly happy, she discovers the crushing truth about her beloved singer, and her broken fantasy sends her into a spiral of depression and self-harm. Thankfully, Raymond’s friendship saves Eleanor from herself, in ways large and small, and at his urging, she agrees to see a counselor. As she begins to heal, her past is revealed to her in its entirety—and a stunning twist casts the events of the novel in a brand new light. Questions and Topics for Discussion1. Knowing the truth about Eleanor’s family, look back through the book to revisit her exchanges with her mother. Did you see what was ahead? How did Honeyman lay the groundwork for the final plot twist? 2. What are the different ways that the novel’s title could be interpreted? What do you think happens to Eleanor after the book ends? 3. Eleanor says, “These days, loneliness is the new cancer—a shameful, embarrassing thing, brought upon yourself in some obscure way. A fearful, incurable thing, so horrifying that you dare not mention it; other people don’t want to hear the word spoken aloud for fear that they might too be afflicted” (p. 227). Do you agree? 4. What does Raymond find appealing about Eleanor? And why does Eleanor feel comfortable opening up to Raymond? 5. Eleanor is one of the most unusual protagonists in recent fiction, and some of her opinions and actions are very funny. What were your favorite moments in the novel?6. “Did men ever look in the mirror, I wondered, and find themselves wanting in deeply fundamental ways? When they opened a newspaper or watched a film, were they presented with nothing but exceptionally handsome young men, and did this make them feel intimidated, inferior, because they were not as young, not as handsome?” (p. 74). Eleanor’s question is rhetorical and slightly tongue-in-cheek, but worth answering. What are your thoughts? If men don’t have this experience, why not? If they do, why is it not more openly discussed? 7. Eleanor is frightened that she may become like her mother. Is this a reasonable fear? What is the balance of nature and nurture? 8. Is it possible to emerge from a traumatic childhood unscathed? 9. Eleanor says, “If someone asks you how you are, you are meant to say FINE. You are not meant to say that you cried yourself to sleep last night because you hadn’t spoken to another person for two consecutive days. FINE is what you say” (p. 226–227). Why is this the case? 

Editorial Reviews

Winner of the 2018 Costa First Novel AwardWinner of the 2018 British Book Award for Debut NovelNamed a New York Times 2017 "Books to Breeze Through This Summer""Beautifully written and incredibly funny. . . . I fell in love with Eleanor." — Reese Witherspoon“Eleanor Oliphant is a truly original literary creation: funny, touching, and unpredictable. Her journey out of dark shadows is expertly woven and absolutely gripping.” —Jojo Moyes, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Me Before You“Eleanor Oliphant endears herself to the reader with her cantankerous charm and her disarmingly inscrutable voice. A compulsive, irresistible narrative that arcs toward compassion and light.” —Mona Awad, author of 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl“So powerful—I completely loved Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine.” —Fiona Barton, New York Times bestselling author of The Widow “Moving, hilarious, and intriguing, just like its unique, anti-social, anti-heroine. You will fall in love with Eleanor Oliphant.” —J. Ryan Stradal, New York Times bestselling author of Kitchens of the Great Midwest"Witty, charming, and heartwarming, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is a remarkable debut about a singular woman." —Booklist (STARRED REVIEW)“Like a contemporary Jane Eyre, Gail Honeyman’s Eleanor Oliphant is a woman scarred by profound loneliness, and the shadow of a harrowing childhood she can’t even bear to remember. Bit by bit, and with extraordinary courage, however, Eleanor begins peeling the layers of protective numbness, letting others near for the first time, and reaching for the life she hasn’t believed she deserves. Deft, compassionate and deeply moving—Honeyman’s debut will have you rooting for Eleanor with every turning page. I loved this story.” —Paula McClain, New York Times bestselling author of The Paris Wife “Honeyman’s debut is a stunner, as buoyant and charming as it is heartwrenching and emotionally sophisticated. Poor Eleanor Oliphant—often clueless, at times maddening, but always fascinating—walks right off the page and into the reader’s heart. Not only is Eleanor Oliphant completely fine, she’s a revelation.” —Jonathan Evison, author of This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance“The book occupies that sweet spot between literary and commercial fiction: a highly readable but beautifully written story that’s as perceptive and wise as it is funny and endearing.” —The Guardian“...an absolute joy, laugh-out-loud funny but deeply moving.” —Express UK“Eleanor Oliphant is more than Completely Fine. She is Unforgettable, Brilliant, Funny and Life-Affirming.”—The Daily Mail “Honeyman's craft with prose is strikingly effective and utterly smart…Perfectly paced, odd, shocking and hilarious, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is a fascinating story about loneliness, hope, tragedy and humanity. Honeyman's delivery is wickedly good, and Eleanor won't leave you anytime soon."—The Chronicle Herald“Heart-wrenching yet humorous; dark yet full of life—the debut novel from this Glasgow-based author is nothing short of extraordinary. This is a story… that everyone will be talking about this summer.” —Hello Canada “[Eleanor Oliphant] happens to be among the most compelling and complex characters drawn in recent memory, one who is always peculiar, often infuriating, but funny and utterly endearing.” —The National (Scotland)“Gail Honeyman’s wonderful debut novel hits the summer read sweet spot: an intelligent, complex, funny, heartbreaking book that you’ll want to read in a single sitting.” —The Irish Times “Another fantastic book about someone outside the norm…. It’s misery memoir meets Adrian Mole with a bit of The Office thrown in. What’s not to like?” —The Mail on Sunday  “This wacky, charming novel…draws you in with humor, then turns out to contain both a suspenseful subplot and a sweet romance….Hilarious and moving.” —People   “Whip-smart . . .  Perfectly paced, odd, shocking and hilarious, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is a fascinating story about loneliness, hope, tragedy and humanity. Honeyman’s delivery is wickedly good, and Eleanor won’t leave you anytime soon.” –Associated Press “The book is wonderfully, quirkily funny. You both ache for Eleanor. . . and laugh with her.” –Seattle Times