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Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine
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Archive: Other Books > Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine - Gail Honeyman - 4.5 Stars

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message 1: by [deleted user] (last edited Dec 13, 2018 09:44AM) (new)

A few of my favorite books this year featured flawed, quirky characters, and Eleanor Oliphant is one of the best of those characters. Gail Honeyman has written about a wonderfully eccentric character whose tragic past left her scarred, both physically and emotionally. Her journey to understanding and accepting her past, and the ways that it formed her identity, is told in such a way that it insightfully covers an expanse of emotions.

Eleanor Oliphant is unique. She happily lives alone, sticks to rigid routines, and has a frankness about her that is very often off-putting to those around her. Eleanor views the world in black and white terms. Her difficulties with understanding human emotions and the emotional needs of others were fascinating. Her interactions with others had me cringing at times, but were many times so humorous that I laughed out loud while walking through town! (This was an audiobook I listened to during my walks.)

The character development was well-done and allowed me to vividly envision the people and events, and to feel like I understood exactly how they felt. When a writer can do that, I fall in love with their book. I am deeply familiar with clinical depression, and I found the description of Eleanor's thoughts and feelings so real. Eleanor tried to make loving her very difficult, but in spite of her, I fell in love with her character from the very beginning.


Charlotte | 1580 comments I love your review! I read this a few months ago and agree with the character development. It was not what I was expecting from the book (I went in blind) and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I enjoyed the writing. I did struggle with Eleanor because the writer did such a good job making her unlovable at times.


KateNZ | 2326 comments I read this for ‘friendship’ a few months ago, because we all need a friend like Raymond. There were sections that made me cry (and I don’t often cry at books but they were heartbreaking). And others that made me laugh aloud.

There was a fascinating discussion in another thread about whether Eleanor rang true from a diagnostic perspective. All very valid points. I guess I didn’t diagnose her, though. She’s not one thing or another - I just took her as she was. And the book is so clever with its gradual reveal of the events in her past that shaped her. Exactly the kind of book I wish I could write.

It’s definitely one of my top books of the year.


message 4: by Amy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy | 8524 comments I have said a lot about Elinor from a therapeutic as well as a readers perspective. But I will say this. The second I stopped diagnosing Ove, I loved him and the book so much more.


Nikki | 661 comments Thank you for the lovely review. This looks like something I'd enjoy, and I'm always curious to see whether a book as talked-about as this one lives up to the hype - I'm glad to see that it did for you!


Susie | 4488 comments Amy wrote: "I have said a lot about Elinor from a therapeutic as well as a readers perspective. But I will say this. The second I stopped diagnosing Ove, I loved him and the book so much more."

Amy, I know what you mean. We need to shelve our professional selves sometimes!


message 7: by [deleted user] (new)

Charlotte wrote: "I love your review! I read this a few months ago and agree with the character development. It was not what I was expecting from the book (I went in blind) and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I enjoyed the..."

Thank you, Susie. She was not always loveable but man she made me laugh many times. I sure did love her the further the book went though.


KateNZ | 2326 comments Rachel you may want to hide part of your last comment for spoilers


message 9: by Amy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy | 8524 comments Susie, as we have agreed (lol) that was a lot harder to do in this book. Shelving the obvious diagnostic profile switch. Harder to just go with it, but that we indeed did. Although both of us have it reserved the right to continue to kvetch about it. Is kvetch a word that’s known in Australia? It’s such a wonderful descriptive word.


Susie | 4488 comments I have never heard the word kvetch but I like it!


message 11: by AsimovsZeroth (last edited Dec 13, 2018 02:35AM) (new) - added it

AsimovsZeroth (asimovszerothlaw) | 436 comments Rachel wrote: "Charlotte wrote: "I love your review! I read this a few months ago and agree with the character development. It was not what I was expecting from the book (I went in blind) and I thoroughly enjoyed..."

Please hide spoilers with the spoilers tag Rachel! I haven't read this book yet, but it keeps popping up in reviews here, so I thought I'd finally take a look... and now I know more than I'd like to!

Edit: I realized this post was a bit abrupt. Don't feel too bad. We've all unthinkingly spoiled a plot point in a book and that is indeed the danger of reading reviews and discussions on Goodreads, so we're both culpable here.


Nikki | 661 comments Susie wrote: "I have never heard the word kvetch but I like it!"

I've never come across the word kvetch in regular conversation either, but it always sticks in my mind because of an article I read years ago giving the advice that in any traumatic situation, you should always picture a set of concentric circles with the person / people most directly affected at the centre, and then everyone should try to focus on offering comfort towards the inner circles, and only "kvetch" outwards.


AsimovsZeroth (asimovszerothlaw) | 436 comments Kvetch is originally a German word, which may explain why it's been widely used in my family. I didn't realize this word was esoteric, until glancing at this post. However, it's fallen out of use in recent years and I think is still most commonly used within Jewish communities.


message 14: by Amy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy | 8524 comments For those of us who spend a lot of time immersed in Jewish communities, it’s commonplace. We often forget that certain words are not as known to everyone else.

I’m usually so darn careful about spoilers. Like I really think about it all the time. But that’s actually how I met Jason in PBT, which was a lovely find. When he first showed up, we were reading the exact same book, which was not a well known or popular one. And I went ahead and spoiled the entire plot point occurring 50 pages later. I felt terrible about it and apologized profusely. But that’s our friendship got born. You never know. I can tell you that Rachel is a really great person to know. Maybe that will be a trend, spoiler apologies leading to other conversation - lol!

Then again, my friendship with Rachel began simply because we were immediate book twins loving the same books and having similar thoughts. So maybe you don’t need the spoiler situation to bring us all closer. By the way I’m loving the really nice camera dearie we all seem to be having lately. What a lovely group to be a part of.


annapi | 4976 comments Amy wrote: "By the way I’m loving the really nice camera dearie we all seem to be having lately...."

LOL I had to really think for a few minutes before I realized that this was an autocorrect!


message 16: by [deleted user] (new)

I'm assuming the spoiler was my comment later in the conversation that I just deleted? I don't think it's my actual review? I left so much out of this review.:)


message 17: by Amy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy | 8524 comments Nobody who hasn’t read the book read further.

I think the issue Rachel, is the status of the mother, a major plot reveal twist.


message 18: by [deleted user] (new)

Amy wrote: "Nobody who hasn’t read the book read further.

I think the issue Rachel, is the status of the mother, a major plot reveal twist."


Thank you Amy. I was so confused and read it over and over. Apparently it kept going over my head.:)


NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 5225 comments I love your review and I love this book too. Which other books did you like with flawed eccentric characters?


message 20: by Amy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy | 8524 comments For quirky characters Nancy, look up any Elinor Lipman book. She just cracks me up like no one else!


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