Book Review: Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

EleanorOliphantCover1Official Synopsis from Goodreads: No one’s ever told Eleanor that life should be better than fine.

Meet Eleanor Oliphant: She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy.

But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic 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 kinds 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 repair her own profoundly damaged one.

Soon to be a major motion picture produced by Reese Witherspoon, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is the smart, warm, and uplifting story of an out-of-the-ordinary heroine whose deadpan weirdness and unconscious wit make for an irresistible journey as she realizes. . .

The only way to survive is to open your heart.

Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Setting: Modern-day Glasgow, Scotland
My Copy Came From: I purchased the paperback from Costco.

*** this post contains affiliate links ***

Review: A hilarious, poignant read that you won’t forget! Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman is a title that keeps popping up everywhere. Reese Witherspoon is making a movie based on the book, and the book really gained notice when she chose it for her book club selection last year.

Eleanor Oliphant, our main character, is such a unique character. She is opinionated and bold, while also being quiet and lonely. She has a drinking problem, and her life consists of going to work during the week, and then coming home on the weekend and drinking her way through many bottles of vodka.

I do exist, don’t I? It often feels as if I’m not here, that I’m a figment of my own imagination. There are days when I feel so lightly connected to the earth that the threads that tether me to the planet are gossamer thin, spun sugar. A strong gust of wind could dislodge me completely, and I’d lift off and blow away, like one of those seeds in a dandelion clock.

Eleanor is quite the quirky character! She doesn’t mince words when thinking to herself about other people, and the character descriptions were absolutely hilarious and also mean, but funny in that dry humor sort of way. She’s funny without knowing or meaning to be funny, which made me warm up to her and feel protective of her. You immediately get the sense that there is more to Eleanor’s story than she lets out, and I couldn’t put this book down as I was drawn in to how the story was told, and trying to figure out what had happened in Eleanor’s past to make her so standoffish.

I have always taken great pride in managing my life alone. I’m a sole survivor—I’m Eleanor Oliphant. I don’t need anyone else—there’s no big hole in my life, no missing part of my own particular puzzle. I am a self-contained entity. That’s what I’ve always told myself, at any rate.

Eleanor sees a musician one evening and falls instantly in love. She starts to branch out and break out of her routine and ends up forming a friendship with a co-worker named Raymond. I adored Eleanor and Raymond’s friendship. From Raymond’s enthusiasm for everything to Eleanor’s shock at everything Raymond does, it was a pairing that really worked for me. I felt Raymond’s protectiveness for Eleanor, and loved their interactions. I especially enjoyed the scenes with Raymond’s mother.

Her home was so… shiny. She was shiny too, her skin, her hair, her shoes, her teeth. I hadn’t even realized before; I am matte, dull and scuffed.

There is something special about this read. Eleanor finds her way into your heart, even with all of her rude behavior and awkwardness. This book was funny and sweet, heartbreaking and cruel, and I couldn’t put it down. There are some intense scenes, some with so much cruelty it takes your breath away. Fire also figures prominently in this read, and had I known that before reading the book I probably would not have picked it up, just because fire is not something I care to read much about, but I would’ve missed out on a fantastic read had I skipped this book.

These days, loneliness is the new cancer—a shameful, embarrassing thing, brought upon yourself in some obscure way. A fearful, incurable thing, so horrifying that you dare not mention it; other people don’t want to hear the word spoken aloud for fear that they might too be afflicted, or that it might tempt fate into visiting a similar horror upon them.

There’s a reason this book is so popular, and the character of Eleanor Oliphant is one that is so heartbreakingly memorable, you can’t help but love her.

Bottom Line: You’ll laugh and you’ll cry while reading this.

LINKS ***the Amazon link is an affiliate link which means I receive a small commission if you click the link and make a purchase***
Reese’s Book Club


Have you read Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine? Are you looking forward to the movie? Who do you picture playing Eleanor and Raymond?


12 thoughts on “Book Review: Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

  1. What a thoughtful and thought-provoking review. I had not heard of this book before, but definitely want to read it now. How will they ever make a movie of it … unless Eleanor narrates it, or has some voice … well, I just have to read it first!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I hope they can figure out a way to bring Eleanor’s voice into the movie – so much of the book is her running commentary inside her head, so it’ll be interesting to see how they portray her onscreen.


  2. I haven’t read this book, but since I now know the character is Scottish (thanks, no one else, got mentioning this fact!!), I’d go for an audio book. I’d think the movie had to star Kelly Macdonald. She’s on the rise in the U.S.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think this would really work well in an audiobook format. The only thing is that audiobooks take such a long time to get through, and I could not put this book down, I just had to know how everything would come together, so that might be a bit frustrating while listening 🙂
      Kelly Macdonald would be excellent in this role! She’d make a great Eleanor!


  3. I can totally imagine this as a film, though no idea who might play the parts, it has all the elements of a wonderful coming-of-age, even if she is in her late twenties and that kind of friendship/romance thing, very well put together and written in an engaging style. I’m looking forward tot he film, I do hope they go with the Scottish accents!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love the ambiguity of the friendship/romance. You can choose to view it how you like! I enjoyed that the “coming of age” was for an older woman (well, older than the usual story) – just helps reinforce that we can come into ourselves at any point in our lives! I hope the film follows the story accurately!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Ami, I read this book because of your review and I LOVED it! It was so moving to see what a life-changing effect that kindness can have in the life of another person. I’ll be thinking about this book for a long time…thanks for the recommendation!
    Nancy S.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Nancy! Oh I’m so glad that you enjoyed this read. I loved the relationship between Eleanor and Raymond, and I especially loved Raymond’s mother. Kindness is so powerful!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s