Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Reviewer : Gillian Hamer, author of The Charter, Closure, Complicit, Crimson Shore, False Lights & Sacred Lake (

What we thought: This is an outstanding debut novel and it’s no surprise to me it’s become one of the year’s bestsellers and that Hollywood have already snapped up the film rights.

Eleanor Oliphant is a complex human being. She survives each day, locked into her routine, without ever experiencing most of the emotions and sensations we as human beings take for granted. Monday to Friday she does her 9-5 job, eating lunch alone, avoiding human contact, and her weekends start with vodka to help her sleep through till Monday when her working week starts again.

The story joins Eleanor as the rigid routine of the past two decades begins to change when she finds herself drawn into other people’s world and is amazed by the kindness and compassion she finds there. And this is the beginning of both Eleanor discovering herself and the reader discovering the truth of her troubled past. Both of which result in a shocking and dramatic conclusion.

The writing here is superb and it’s hard to believe it’s a first novel. Pace moves us along at a cracking rate and the characters are beyond brilliant. The deeper messages about society in general, our attitudes to mental health, were unmissable - and the humorous traits described from Eleanor’s perspective had me laughing aloud more than once. Her first bikini wax will bring tears to your eyes as well as the characters!

I found myself beyond sad when I got to the final page and had to say goodbye to Eleanor. I hope  she finds happiness in her future and more than anything I hope the author is planning a sequel!

You’ll enjoy this if you like: Ruth Hogan, Jo Jo Moyes, Matt Haig.

Avoid if you don’t like: Human beings.

Ideal accompaniments: Magners cider and ice with vol-au-vents and party nibbles.

Genre: Contemporary

Available on Amazon

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