Date Published: May 9, 2017
Date Read: September 6-9, 2019
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 social interactions, 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 on the sidewalk, the three become the kinds of friends who rescue one another from the lives of isolation they have each been living. And it is Raymond’s big heart that will ultimately help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one.
This was going along fine and then that ending made me want to throw the book against the wall. I HATE last minute, last page plot twists, and this one is especially sucked because it made me feel I had wasted my time reading this book.
Eleanor Oliophant had a traumatic childhood, one that the reader gets glimpses of over the course of the story. As the book opens, Eleanor is an almost thirty year old account receiveable office drone living a very regimented and lonely life in Glasgow (Eleanor herself is a native of England, and yes this is a real divide). She does not get along with her co-workers and has no outside social life; she is visited every six months by a social worker who does the very bare minimum in keeping up with Eleanor and her health status. And then Eleanor meets THE ROCKER, which takes up the first half of the book. She doesn't actually say a word to the musician, but he becomes her whole life - Eminiem's "Stan" has more chill than Eleanor. Eleanor decides on making herself over - cue movie montage of getting her nails and hair done at a salon, an embarrassing visit to the waxer, etc. At the same time, she befriends another worker at her company, Raymond.
Then her world falls apart when she realizes THE ROCKER and her will never suit, will never meet, will never be the UBER COUPLE she built up in her mind. Luckily, Raymond is there to help her after she tries to drink herself to death (along with trying pills and drain cleaner). Raymond convinces her to seek help. Along the way Raymond helps her also figure out what happened that night.
I really liked Raymond and Eleanor. Eleanor, as an outsider, had some amazing observations on society and how "normal" people go about acting socially. This is a quiet book, full of slice of life of a childhood abuse survivor as she becomes a real thriving adult and not just a survivor. With that said, that one plot twist just irked me to the point that I took a star off.