I think I’m quite some years behind on the Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine hype but it still felt like a read that was incredibly relevant and, if I had to guess, started off a trend of first-person quirky women narrators. Since then we’ve had quite a few first-person contemporary narratives that feature a lot of dark humour.
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Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine follows an important few months in the life of Eleanor Oliphant. Eleanor clearly has some mild autism and thus struggles with a lot of social cues and has her very particular ways that she likes to do things and likes other things not to be done. This, as we find out the more we read, is likely exacerbated by a childhood that she initially cannot remember but slowly begins to unravel.
At the same time as the aforementioned, Eleanor finds Raymond, a man at work. He’s the exact human being he needs in her life at this period and, as well as supporting her, shows her a sort of human being she didn’t know existed.
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine plot – 4.5/5
As I said, and I don’t want to spoil the plot too much, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine tells the story of how Eleanor Oliphant slowly begins to learn more about her childhood and about the world around her. The pace is at times slow, but I didn’t mind it at all as I loved almost every interaction that Eleanor had with people. She was either unintentionally rude or learning how to be less rude, both making for humorous or heartwarming moments.
The pace of the story picks up in the final third with some big revelations that you likely won’t see coming. It’s a plot as a whole that seems to gently ease you into it before dropping some big, dark bombs on you that will change the way you think about some characters and also take the story itself to a level you didn’t know it was going to take you.
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine characters – 4.75/5
The absolute star of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is the character work. Honeyman has created a protagonist here who is utterly and deeply loveable, but not because of how great she is but because of how flawed she is. Eleanor can sometimes be rude, she can often be antisocial and, sometimes she can even be a bit harsh with her decisions.
But as you grow to learn more about Eleanor and why she is the way she is you can’t help but fell incredibly sorry for her and find yourself rooting for her. I found myself agreeing with her a lot of her opinions on things and I wouldn’t say I struggle socially. Once Raymond comes along, she also begins to learn very quickly which makes her growth and journey even more enjoyable.
And what a man Raymond is by the way. With no real pretence or purposes, Raymond befriends Eleanor. he thinks she’s funny and fascinating and wishes to spend time with her. He introduces her to his family, takes her on dates, shows her social situations she’s never been in before and does all of this with no real intention of anything more.
He’s the exact human being Eleanor needed in her life during this period. He’s stable, kind, reliable and incredibly selfless. He also shows more patience and sympathy for Eleanor that some of the other people in her life don’t. I rate Raymond very highly. Everyone should be more Raymond.
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine final rating – 4.5/5
I absolutely adored Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, it was funny, lighthearted and heartwarming but also deeply sad, moving and sometimes quite dark. Eleanor is brilliant, Raymond is brilliant and Eleanor’s mother is the worst person in the world. I’ll always rate any book that can make me feel more than one emotion highly and I think Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine had me feeling quite a few. Yes, I may be a few years behind the hype, but I’m so glad I finally caught up.