Book Review: ELEANOR OLIPHANT IS COMPLETELY FINE by Gail Honeyman

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Charming, funny and hugely moving, ELEANOR OLIPHANT IS COMPLETELY FINE is an absorbing debut by Gail Honeyman

Everyone is talking about ELEANOR OLIPHANT IS COMPLETELY FINE and rightly so. Since its release in May 2017, Gail Honeyman’s debut novel has taken the world by storm and is soon to be made into a major motion picture produced by Reese Witherspoon.

ELEANOR OLIPHANT IS COMPLETELY FINE follows the day-to-day life of Eleanor Oliphant, a single, 30-something woman who leads a simple life. Stuck in a daily routine of wearing the same clothes to work every day, eating the same meal deal for lunch every day and buying the same two bottles of vodka to drink every weekend, nothing is missing from Eleanor’s carefully timetabled life. Except, sometimes it is. Eleanor has learned how to survive but not how to live.

One afternoon, a simple act of kindness shatters the walls Eleanor has built around herself. Now she must learn how to navigate the world that everyone else seems to take for granted – while searching for the courage to face the dark corners she’s avoided all her life.

Charming, funny and hugely moving, ELEANOR OLIPHANT IS COMPLETELY FINE is a deft, compassionate and absorbing debut by Honeyman. Rich with humour, full of warmth and deeply original, everything about this book just seems to work. The main character is wonderfully unique, the plot is powerful and unpredictable and the quality of the writing is exceptionally strong.

As a main character, Eleanor is like no other. She has no social graces, is a little rude and doesn’t know how to interact with other people at all, yet despite this, there is something about her that you can’t help but like. It’s also obvious as the story develops that Eleanor has experienced something horrendous in her past, although the exact details surrounding this aren’t actually revealed until much later in the book.

But what makes ELEANOR OLIPHANT IS COMPLETELY FINE truly brilliant is the way in which the author uses friendship, rather than traditional “romance”, to drive the story forward. In this story, Eleanor is not “rescued” by love but by companionship, which makes her gradual transformation all the more captivating.

Tender, touching, and emotional in places, ELEANOR OLIPHANT IS COMPLETELY FINE is a wondrous debut by Gail Honeyman and an ultimately uplifting read.

(5 / 5)

ELEANOR OLIPHANT IS COMPLETELY FINE by Gail Honeyman is available to buy eBook or hardback form from Amazon* or HarperCollins UK.  

About Donna

Donna is the Editor of Frankly, My Dear UK. By day, she is a digital marketing whizz, by night she reviews film, theatre and music for a wide range of publications including WhatsonStage, The Public Reviews and ScreenRelish. Loves Shakespeare, prosecco and Formula 1