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review 2018-06-01 19:00
A character you won't soon forget
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine - Gail Honeyman

There is a reason that this debut novel has been on hold for many, many months and why it continues to be difficult to get in a hurry. Gail Honeyman has managed to create a character so unique and delightful that I found myself instantly enamored of her. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is the story of a woman who the reader learns from the outset is completely aloof to the social mores of society and is pretty content to remain so...until she sees the man of her dreams. It seems fairly obvious to the reader that this 'relationship' is doomed to fail. (Like my romance with Brian Littrell when I was in middle school.) However, having this foreknowledge does not detract from the story because the love story is between the reader and Eleanor and Eleanor with herself. She is a fragile woman who has built up a rather thick wall between herself and the entire world...and she's had plenty of time to reinforce that wall. Her past is nothing if not murky and it doesn't get cleared up until almost the very end of the novel. (And it's a doozy, ya'll.) It's exceedingly difficult for me not to spill some essential facts while writing up this review because they're the things that make this a truly gripping piece of realistic fiction. Eleanor is a character that seems to live and breathe beyond the page. Her bucking of social 'norms' coupled with her frankly hilarious inner dialogue about what is and isn't 'polite' had me laughing out loud on several occasions and made me feel so connected to her. I truly rooted for her and became emotionally invested as if I was reading an autobiography or memoir instead of a work of fiction. (Gail, you've made it into my list of top 20 authors of all time. I'm excited to see what you come up with next!) 10/10 highly recommend

 

A/N: The author discusses child abuse, disfigurement, bullying (from all ages), and mental illness. If these are triggering to you in any way, shape, or form then you should steer clear. Everyone else, I think Gail handled these topics very well (having dealt with 2 of the 4 personally) and I see no reason why you should give this book a pass. Eleanor will grab you by the heartstrings and refuse to let go.

 

What's Up Next: Grace & Style: The Art of Pretending You Have It by Grace Helbig

 

What I'm Currently Reading: The Outsider by Stephen King

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2018-04-04 17:27
Female Don Tillman
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine - Gail Honeyman

Well I thought about it and just decided to give this one 3 stars. I honestly felt the need to go back and re-read "The Rosie Project" again after finishing this. Parts of it were pretty amusing, however, the main character Eleanor is written pretty inconsistently. And I just had a hard time with her so called first boyfriend, (it just came out of nowhere and didn't read as something that she would think of) and the revelations were not surprising. I am glad to read a book that took place in Glasgow, Scotland, but I am not going to lie, it took me a while to make that connection. I thought this was taking place in England at first since the whole setting read London to me. 

 

"Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine" is about 30 year old Eleanor who has problems connecting with her coworkers or just generally anyone. She has weekly chats with "Mummy" where she's told how terrible/useless she is. And every Friday she buys a pizza,  vodka, and drinks to help her sleep and pass the time til she has work again on Monday. That all comes to a head when she spots the musician who she decides will be the perfect partner/husband/lover ever. She decides to start putting herself out there in order to be ready for the musician (getting waxed was hilarious). When she starts to become friendly with her company's IT department (Raymond) she slowly starts to come into herself. 

 

So here's the thing. I don't know if Eleanor has autism or what. It's never said. But at times she seems way too innocent for things (not understanding McDonald's). And at times way too old for her age (her vocabulary is extensive). So I don't know what to make of her. I think Honeyman wanted it both ways. She wanted a female Don Tillman (see The Rosie Project) but she wanted to have her be quirky or something. I don't know. I think I initially really enjoyed her character, but after a while she felt false. Without getting into spoiler territory here, we know that Eleanor is very careful about her appearance and cleanliness, but she then remarks how dirty, shabby, etc. her apartment is. This is a person who almost levitated when she thought about stepping on pubic hairs when she got waxed. 

Also I don't know, it just felt wrong having a book featuring someone on the autism scale and having them be so naive about things. Eleanor apparently doesn't get tipping and also doesn't understand that if you get food delivered to your house, they don't bring you wine. She also didn't realize she couldn't buy alcohol before 10 a.m. That seems like something she would automatically know.


The secondary characters I enjoyed, though you have to wonder why Raymond was even sticking around after a while. Eleanor is very prickly at first, but he keeps hanging on to going out with her and being there. It just felt....off. I felt like the story-line had him be a good guy, instead of a normal guy who would maybe have said this is too much for me to deal with. 

 

I still think the big false note in the book was the musician though. Eventually things come to a head there, but it just didn't make any sense with how Eleanor is portrayed she would have went there in the first place. 

 

The writing was funny as I said above, but after a while it started to remind me a bit of the JD Robb books when Eve apparently doesn't get similes or metaphors. 

 

"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."

This made me laugh.

 

"Blond hair and large breasts are so clichéd, so obvious. Men like Raymond, pedestrian dullards, would always be distracted by women who looked like her, having neither the wit nor the sophistication to see beyond mammaries and peroxide."

Why would she even think this? Is this something from her mother or what? 

 

"The musician was very handsome and very talented. I knew, as soon as I set eyes on him, that we were destined to be together. Fate would see to that."

I still don't get why she's interested in this dude. I can smell wanker coming off of him from here. 

 

"@johnnieLrocks Wondering if my stuff is a wee bit too challenging for some people yeah? Dont go to gigs if you can’t handle new sounds. #misunderstood #truth

@johnnieLrocks Happens to all the greats when they first start out, tho #Dylan #Springsteen #amgigging"

Wanker.

 

The flow was good throughout though. 

 

As I said above, I was surprised to realize this took place in Scotland. I can't even remember what page I read that on, but went wait what? I thought this was taking place in England, mostly because of how Eleanor "talks" throughout this book. I literally don't know anything about Glasgow, but it sounds nice at least from what Eleanor says, but it be great to have a better idea of the city's layout and what is there to do there. I know that we are not going to get that via Eleanor's character, but someone else could have brought it up. 

 

I was expecting a different ending. Mostly because of the reveals we get regarding Eleanor and her past. I thought things were a bit too everything is now fine here that I don't think is true at all. 

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text 2018-04-04 13:46
Reading progress update: I've read 100%.
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine - Gail Honeyman

I will have to think on this one more. I did like this, but didn't love it. I think the main issue is that the character of Eleanor is written inconsistently. I don't know if she has Asperger's or what. She seems to not understand basic things, but other times does get them. I can't say I was shocked at any of the reveals since Honeyman sets things up enough that you shouldn't be surprised by any of the revelations. 

 

I said in one of my updates this really reminded me of the female "The Rosie Project". Eleanor even starts off with trying to be a better version of herself to catch the eye of the musician that she sees and starts to see as her ideal man. Considering everything else we find out about her, I had a hard time with her even becoming fixated on that guy. Of course that all gets cleared away after the 50 percent point, but still it just didn't feel realistic to who she was. Other things bugged me too. She's apparently a clean freak, but her apartment is dirty and even mentions how her bathroom hasn't been cleaned in ages. I also don't get how she got to the age of 30 and didn't understand what McDonald's was. She was in foster care, she can't have not heard about fast food. It was just stuff like that that ended up taking me out of the story. 

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text 2018-04-03 22:43
Reading progress update: I've read 53%.
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine - Gail Honeyman

Eleanor's musician reads "wanker" to me. Plus this books reminds me of The Rosie Project. 

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text 2018-04-03 20:53
Reading progress update: I've read 31%.
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine - Gail Honeyman

I hope this doesn't end on a sad note. 

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