When I picked up a copy of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine I knew I was in for a good read.
But I had no idea I would be putting my life on hold for an entire day so I could get to the bottom of the frustrating mystery that is Eleanor Oliphant.
You see, 30-year-old Eleanor Oliphant lives alone in a tiny Glasgow flat.
During the week she works as an accounts assistant at a small graphic design firm. Her colleagues think she’s odd and often loudly mock her in the staff room.
On the weekend she eats pizza and drinks vodka and aims to completely avoid humans.
Once a week she speaks to “Mummy” on the phone, who tells her she’s ugly and worthless and will never amount to anything.
Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine… except she’s not.
Something happened to Eleanor when she was a child, something so horrible, so unfathomable, she’s tucked it away inside her mind and decided not to deal with it.
She’s shut herself down and is only going through the motions of life… not actually living.
This strategy works perfectly well for her until she meets Raymond, the firm’s scruffy new IT guy.
One day while leaving work together, they witness an old man, named Sammy, falling over on the sidewalk. Raymond immediately rushes to assist him, while Eleanor reluctantly helps.
Through their connection to Sammy, Eleanor and Raymond very slowly and very carefully start to form a friendship.
Eleanor can no longer hide from human connection – or her past. She’s forced to finally open her heart and confront her tragedy.
If anything, this is a coming-of-age story about a 30-year-old woman who has been hiding from the joy, the intense love, gut-wrenching pain the human experience can offer.
That’s why Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is the kind of book that you need to finish reading as soon as you pick it up. Eleanor is so hilarious, yet frustrating, you immediately want to figure out exactly what happened to her, what led her to become the kind of person who shuts people out and self-medicates with vodka.
And most importantly – you want her to actually be fine.
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is The Silver Linings Playbook meets Bridget Jone’s Diary, with a splash of The Girl on the Train.
It’s the kind of book you’ll want to devour in one sitting and then spend hours dissecting with your friends.
It’s uplifting, confronting, and at times, absolutely goddamn hilarious.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this review stated that Eleanor lives in London. She actually lives in Glasgow.
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