Bookish Witch

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Blurb (as on Amazon):

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.

Soon to be a major motion picture produced by Reese Witherspoon, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is the smart, warm, and uplifting story of an out-of-the-ordinary heroine whose deadpan weirdness and unconscious wit make for an irresistible journey as she realizes. . .

The only way to survive is to open your heart. 

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Pages: 336

Format: Kindle eBook/Paperback


  • Kindle eBook: 231 INR/$10.54
  • Paperback: 243 INR/$12.78

My Ratings: 4.3/5

30-year-old Eleanor Oliphant is a bit of an oddball. She has held on to the same job for the past 9 years, the one she’d landed right after college. She spends her non-working hours cooped in her small apartment, choosing as little social interaction as possible. The only change in her routine is her choice of evening meals and drinks over the weekdays and weekends. She feels this is all normal and believes herself to be ‘completely fine’. Is she though? That’s a question only a reading of this book can answer.

What I liked about the book:

-> There are ample funny moments throughout the book. It is remarkable how the author wrote these parts because even though they might sometimes be surprising, you never feel like laughing at Eleanor but rather at the things she says or the situations she ends up in.
-> The lead character is flawed and vulnerable. Throughout the book, Eleanor slowly experiences a metamorphosis, one that often makes you smile, laugh, and sometimes shed a tear or two. Yes, she is damaged and quirky but special in her own way.
-> The buildup to what actually happened to Eleanor in her childhood and the incident that altered her life completely.
-> The book manages to take a serious, traumatic issue and weave it into a warm, funny, and enlightening tale.
-> The story is narrated from the PoV of Eleanor and this makes it hilarious. However, one cannot help but feel sad for Eleanor and her obvious lack of social life and skills. Her attempts to become “normal” and integrate into society are sources of hilarity but are also sometimes very sad. It’s sad when we see her coworkers talking about her, but Eleanor is oblivious to their scorn. It’s sad how alone in life she is. It’s sad when she “falls in love” with an idea of a person.
-> It’s not a romantic book and this was such a refreshing change. There are hints that the central relationship will eventually develop into romance, but this I was so glad that this wasn’t a central theme, nor something that was shown as a supposed ‘happy ending’. I loved the fact that Eleanor isn’t magically cured and lead out of the darkness because she falls in love. Being happy and achieving greater self-worth does not necessarily have to come out of romance.

What I did not like about the book:

-> There were some elements of Eleanor’s past trauma & present mental health that felt like they weren’t handled carefully or were rushed forth. I really did feel like the author was trying to hide them under the carpet in a hush-hush manner.
-> I didn’t like the fact that Eleanor become more likeable or noticeable through her appearance. It’s a very stereotypical and tried and tested method where the uncool nerd takes her glasses off, only for people to realize she’s been pretty the whole time! The difference between self-care and how Eleanor moves towards looking more conventionally attractive could have been better handled. It is irritating as a reader when people suddenly start caring for her company.

Quotable quotes:

-> These days, loneliness is the new cancer – a shameful, embarrassing thing, brought upon yourself in some obscure way. A fearful, incurable thing, so horrifying that you dare not mention it; other people don’t want to hear the word spoken aloud for fear that they might too be afflicted.
-> In principle and reality, libraries are life-enhancing palaces of wonder.
-> Sometimes you simply needed someone kind to sit with you while you dealt with things.
-> Although it’s good to try new things and to keep an open mind, it’s also extremely
important to stay true to who you really are.
-> Time only blunts the pain of loss. It doesn’t erase it.

-> When you’re struggling hard to manage your own emotions, it becomes unbearable to have to witness other people’s, to have to try and manage theirs too.
-> Some people, weak people, fear solitude. What they fail to understand is that you don’t need anyone, you can take care of yourself.
-> Your voice changes when you’re smiling, it alters the sound somehow.

> I feel sorry for beautiful people. Beauty, from the moment you possess it, is already slipping away, ephemeral. That must be difficult.
-> One of the reasons we’re all able to continue to exist for our allotted span in this green and blue vale of tears is that there is always, however, remote it might seem, the possibility of change.
-> You can’t protect other people, however hard you try.

-> Social success is often built on pretending just a little. Popular people sometimes have to laugh at things they don’t find very funny, do things they don’t particularly want to, with people whose company they don’t particularly enjoy.
-> It’s as unfair to dislike someone because they’re attractive as it is to dislike someone because of a deformity.

Check out the book here:

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