Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine March 8, 2019 – Posted in: Book Reviews

This is a wonderful, deadpan humorous and, ultimately, uplifting book. ELEANOR OLIPHANT IS FINE takes us on the painful but hilarious journey of a likable, yet outwardly weird, woman whose inner voice makes her insistently real to the reader. Thirty year old Eleanor avoids social interactions and is grievously lonely – however, she is the agent of her own life. There is an unknown background tragedy that has left Eleanor emotionally damaged, nearly destroyed, however, she embarks shakily, but with some determination, out of her dark abyss. This leads to her unravelling but eventual redemption. The book is filled with poignant moments, as when she describes loneliness as “a fearful, incurable thing, so horrifying that you dare not mention it; other people don’t want to hear the word spoken about for fear that they might too be affected.” As for laugh-out-loud moments, there were so many that my abs got a slight workout after an evening of reading. So frequent were these amusements that is difficult to pick out one. Here is a gem. Imagine the scenario where you arrive at an event with what appears to be your man. He is not a looker and, at the very least, quite unkempt and unappealing. A glamorous woman at the event points that man out to you saying “Hey, you could do worse, get him cleaned up a bit.” Our Eleanor replies “Oh you’ve completely misunderstood. I already have someone. He’s handsome and sophisticated and talented – a cultured educated man.” The woman smiles at Eleanor and says “Lucky you ! How did you two meet”? Eleanor replies “Well, we haven’t as yet, but it is only a matter of time.” The woman laughs hysterically at this and invites Eleanor for a glass of wine. You see, our Eleanor lives in a fantasy world; she will however wake up, slowly but surely, to the real one. Goodbye Eleanor, you and your literal way of looking at the world, your genius diction and your whole unique story will be missed.

Review written by Helen Meehan

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