Book Review: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

Susan Harris
December 23, 2020

Gail Honeyman

Book Review by Susan Harris

What is the book about?

This book is about a lonely but intelligent young woman, Eleanor, who is learning to navigate life at home and at work. She loves a regimented daily timetable that draws the reader to enter into her world. As the story unfolds, Eleanor shares little bits of her devastating past and lets us enter into her coping mechanisms in her present life. Her future unfolds in a dramatic and unexpected way.

Kindness is the key to developing her understanding of the world.

What was enjoyable about reading this book?

Honeyman writes in a seemingly naïve style which is also very funny at times. She captures the thinking inside of Eleanor’s head brilliantly. I liked the fact that the author never over sentimentalised the narrative.

Brickbats and bouquets

The bouquets are many. I could not put it down; it gave me a deeper insight into trauma and coping mechanisms. I also loved the fact that it did not end in a traditional love story with the other main protagonist, Raymond.

Who would like to read the book?

Anyone interested in the complexities of the human psyche and the amazing resilience of the human spirit. It is an easy read. It would appeal to anyone keen to understand the nature of growing into the best possible person they can be, despite one’s family background as it shines a light on the complexities and chaos of life.

Susan Harris is now retired from the education profession. She has enjoyed a productive and fulfilling working life in schools, while also enjoying a loving home life with husband Roger and, together, parenting 3 daughters.  Susan is now Nanna to 8 grandchildren. One of Susan’s loves has always been reading. Retirement has allowed more time and she has joined a Book Club. She also volunteers at Engage Work Faith and is a member of Rotary.  Reading allows her to experience worlds beyond her own. Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society: “We clung to books and to our friends; they reminded us that we had another part to us.”

Additional Summer Reading Guide Book Reviews

Metanoia: A memoir of a body, born again Anna McGahan. Book review by Simon Hill

Stay Salt: The World Has Changed, our Message must not, Rebecca Manley Pippert. Review by Bec Giuliani

The Zookeeper's Wife, Diane Ackerman. Review by Craig Broman

Ministry of a Messy House, Amanda Robbie. Review by Susan Harris

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