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Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

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Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Eleanor Oliphant has been working the same job, living in the same apartment, and basically following the same routine since she graduated from college ten years before. The Social Welfare people stop by twice a year and the occasional meter reader, but otherwise she lives a solitary existence and she’s completely fine with that. Until the day when she and her co-worker Raymond are walking home from work and come across Sammy, an elderly gentleman having a heart attack. The duo get help for Sammy and so begins the unlikely friendship between the three. It becomes apparent that Eleanor is not completely fine, but with Sammy and Raymond’s help she may just get there.

I thought this was going to be the story of a socially awkward woman breaking out of her shell. While that was part of it, this is actually the story of an emotionally damaged woman learning to like herself, other people, and begin actively participating in the world around her. You know something is really wrong in Eleanor’s world during her Wednesday evening phone calls with her mother, a woman who seems to be in a criminal asylum and hurtles abuse at her daughter with every word. But Eleanor is a survivor, and this is the story of a woman who lived through a horrific childhood coming to terms with her adult life free from abuse.

This is a trend I’m seeing lately, the story of what happens after. We eventually find out what happened to Eleanor as a child, and how she was coping (or not coping) in her adult life and how the power of friendship helps her actually become completely fine. Another refreshing thing about the book is the purely platonic friendship between Eleanor and Raymond; it was nice to see strong friendship between a man and a woman that doesn’t develop into a love story for a change.

By | 2017-07-17T20:20:41+00:00 May 24th, 2017|SCLSNJ Recommended Reads|
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