Dark, Quirky & Odd: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Dark, Quirky & Odd: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail HoneymanEleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine
by Gail Honeyman
Release Date: May 9th 2017
Published by Viking
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Mental Illness
Format: Audiobook
Length: 11 hrs and 1 min
Pages: 336
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Source: Audiobook Received for Review

A sweet, quirky tale of modern redemption for readers ofThe Rosie Project, Major Pettigrew's Last Stand, andThe Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

Eleanor Oliphant is, well, a bit of an oddball--albeit a loveable one. She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she's thinking...and that, combined with her unusual appearance (scarred cheek, a tendency to wear the same clothes year after year), means that Eleanor has become a bit of a loner.

But she thinks that nothing really important is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding perplexing social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, Glen's Vodka, and phone chats with "Mummy." But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and sweet 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 kind 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 repairing her own damaged one.

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is the story of a quirky woman whose social misunderstandings, mental health issues, and unabashed wit make for an irresistible journey as she realizes that the only way to survive in the real world is to open her heart to friendship--and that there's always room there for love, too..."

Audiobook Received for Review in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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I had never heard of this book until it was recommended to me by a friend. I looked it up and was kind of blown away by all the overwhelming positive reviews on Goodreads and all the readers that fell in love with the quirky and odd Eleanor Oliphant. I love me some quirky characters so I decided to try out the audiobook. I was expecting odd and quirky, but I wasn’t expecting how freaking dark this book would be. It’s the kind of dark book that creeps up on you, mixed in with all the seemingly light moments of the book, it actually took me a while to realize how dark this book was because most of it was casually brought up. Eleanor would be rambling on then I had to be like: ‘wait…did she really just say that?? does this mean she was in an abusive relationship? was she raped??’ then I had to rewind the audiobook a bit just so I can be sure. So readers be warned that this book is dark and deals with some tough subjects such as abuse and mental illness.

I struggled with my feelings on this book, just like I struggled with my rating and with Eleanor Oliphant herself. I will say that I do see why so many people have fallen in love with this story and with Elanor, but I just really had a hard time connecting with her. She was quirky and odd, but she was just too quirky and odd to the point where it was hard for me to grasp or believe how Eleanor could function on her own in real life. There’s weird and then there’s Eleanor. She was very literal and said whatever was on her mind, even if it was rude, which most of the time it was. She had no friends and no real interactions with anyone other than her social worker that checked up on her every so often and her weekly phone calls with Mummy. She spends her weekends eating pizza and in a perpetual state of being drunk on vodka, then is back to being lonely all over again the rest of the week.

She does change a bit when she meets Raymond when they save Sammy’s life (calling an ambulance for him) but even that wasn’t enough progress for me. I also found Eleanor to be extremely judgy and rude towards other people and although some rational part of me knows she was like this because her brain works differently, it was another big turn off on her character. There is some romance in this book between her and Raymond but I never really found my self caring for it because their interactions were just so damn weird. The ending was kind of abrupt for me too. We find out that View Spoiler » The ending was a bit unbelievable to me because even though Eleanor got some new clothes and shoes and she may have gotten a boyfriend, she was still the same weird Eleanor with the same outlook on life and like I said before I just didn’t see how someone like that could really live life without others looking over her all the time.

I feel like I liked the writing and even the story more than Eleanor. If Eleanor would have been a bit more believable (and a bit more likeable) then I feel like I would have liked this much more. Unfortunately I spent most of the book waiting for that moment where I got what all other readers were falling in love with, sadly it never really came. Reese Witherspoon is apparently turning this book into a movie and I’d kind of be interested to see how this is portrayed and how Eleanor’s character is executed. Sadly, this was a case where I’m one of the black sheep that didn’t fall in love with this book but if you like dark books with quirky characters and beautiful writing, then maybe Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is the book for you.

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Nereyda is a 31 year-old mother of two girls with addiction to Friends, fashion, books, Pinterest, Netflix, the color black and a little bit of everything else. Also, the world's worst texter...
  • Jasprit

    I didn’t realise that this was such a dark book Nereyda, I’m sorry that you weren’t able to enjoy this one more either Nereyda, but like you said, all I’ve read is glowing reviews for this book, so its always nice to get a differing opinion. Thank you for the honest review! 🙂

    • Maybe I just wasn’t prepared for it, I didn’t actually read any of the reviews so maybe that would have made me enjoy it a bit more?

  • kindlemom1

    Wow. It sounds like the author was a bit sneaky with all the things she threw in there. This is the first I’ve seen this and it does sound intriguing. I’m sad you didn’t like it more though. It is so hard when you see all these awesome ratings and then you read it and only feel so so about it.

  • Ugh, sorry with how this one turned out for your Nereyda. Perhaps Eleanor had Autism or something along the lines? I think the author would have benefited from actually identifying and expressing this aspect of her character instead of adding bits and pieces of mental disorders in there. I don’t think this book would be for me, ahha.

    – Aila @ One Way Or An Author

    • She definitely had some sort of mental illness, not sure if she was born like this or if it was brought on by trauma but I just had a hard time with her…

  • I’ve seen this book around and it seems llke something I would enjoy, since I don’t mind super unlikeable characters, though I may have a hard time with how believable it is.

    • You should definitely give it a try then since I seem to be the black sheep 🙂

  • I got a copy of this on netgalley this week and after this review I kind of wonder whether or not this book is one for me. I am giving it a shot because I hate letting others reviews put me off a book without at least giving it a chance. I don’t mind unlikable characters but when you are questioning if a character could really survive out on their own then I kind of wonder if the character wasn’t done well. I’ll give it a shot and we’ll see how it goes.

    • I guess it’s not really about questioning whether she can survive on her own since she obviously was surviving but it was more like what kind of quality life is that? She was always alone and had no friends and even at the end her attitude was still the same even if she did find romance…