book reviews

Book Review: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine



Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
: Gail Honeyman
Published: 2017
Publisher: Harper Collins
My Rating: 5 / 5


Eleanor Oliphant is happy. Nothing is missing from her carefully timetabled life. Except, sometimes, everything.

One simple act of kindness is about to shatter 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.

Change can be good. Change can be bad. But surely any change is better than fine?


I’m a bit late to the party with this one, but I’m so glad I came. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is the debut novel from UK author, Gail Honeyman. Released to rave reviews, the novel has gone on to be published in over 30 territories world-wide, and the movie rights have been acquired by Reese Witherspoon’s production company.

What can I say about this book that hasn’t already been said? The accolades are all true and so well deserved. From page one, I was captivated by Eleanor’s voice. I know some have said the beginning is slow, and if you find this, I urge you to persist. For me, Eleanor was completely unique. She was quirky, haunting, and compelling. So much more than fine!

It isn’t so much the story that initially pulls you in, it’s Eleanor herself. And for a character to be able to do that to a reader, is a testament to the author. You will find once you are intrigued by Eleanor you can’t help but want to know what happens. And you want to know her story. Honeyman beautifully drip-feeds subtle references to Eleanor’s past that one by one, pull you in deeper. The word intriguing doesn’t do it justice.

The supporting characters are just as compelling. Raymond, whom Eleanor meets through work, is unassuming, but interesting. As are Raymond’s mother, and Samuel and his family. That’s what’s so special about this book – the characters are all ordinary people, living ordinary lives, that through the use of great storytelling, become extraordinary.

Honeyman’s storytelling, narrative arc, and ability to create significant but realistic character growth through the story are masterful. And any aspiring writer should take note and appreciate how she does this effortlessly. Brilliant, when it’s done right.

I haven’t stopped thinking about Eleanor and Raymond since I finished the book. I find myself wondering how they are, and how the continuation of their lives is unfolding. Which is completely irrational considering they are fictional characters and the story has ended. But, that’s just another masterstroke by Honeyman; making you feel as if they are real, and perhaps just live around the corner, or in the next suburb.

If you can’t tell, I’m completely besotted by this book. It brought to the fore every emotion, making my heart swell with love, sadness, joy, and warmth. If you get the chance, please make this book part of your life – you won’t be disappointed.