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Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine
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December 2018: Geek Reads > Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman, 5 stars

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message 1: by NancyJ (last edited Dec 11, 2018 09:25PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 4988 comments Eleanor Oliphant is a bit of a geek. She’s very smart, she has an exceptional vocabulary, she’s good at her accounting job, but she has poor social and emotional intelligence. Her coworkers laugh at her behind her back and she’s been called “mental” more than a few times in her life. (She lives in Scotland btw.) She has little social experience, and makes mistakes that are sometimes sad, and sometimes very funny.

Eleanor has been socially isolated for a long time, but a couple of small events lead to ripples of change in her life. An accident leads to friendship with an old man and an IT guy, and Eleanor's world grows from there. If you’ve read A Man Called Ove, you probably think you know where this is going. But Eleanor’s story is more complex. She starts to deal with memories of past trauma, which we learn more about as the book progresses. The book is in turns funny, sad, poignant, depressing and hopeful.

This was my second reading of Eleanor Oliphant, and it was just as good the second time, maybe better. This book is about making friends, loneliness, surviving trauma, changing, social rules, drinking, therapy, parenting, self-awareness, empathy, inappropriate gifts, bikini waxes, depression, and so much more. During my second reading, I caught more details that added to the story, such as gifts, and the things in Eleanor's apartment.

One of my favorite characters is Raymond, an IT guy who might be a bit of a geek himself. He is a great role model for anyone who wants to know how to be a better friend, and a better human being. I aspire to be a little more like him.

For those interested in psychology, the book illustrates some good (and bad) mental health and helping behaviors. (view spoiler)

Book vs audio note. The first time I read the book, I didn't listen to the audio until I was halfway through the book. The voice didn't sound the way I thought Eleanor would sound, so it was off-putting. For the second reading, I started with the audible version, and I loved it. Her inflections really brought out the ironic humor in the story, as well as some of the emotion.

I look forward to reading this author's next book, no matter what the topic.


Susie | 4488 comments I'm glad you enjoyed it NancyJ. It seems like it will make it to the PBT Top Ten of 2018. I love this time of the year!


NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 4988 comments Glad to hear it. I had a hard time starting the review because I didn't want to trivialize Eleanor's issues as being quirkiness or geekiness.


Ellen | 2087 comments I read this book for the friendship tag a few months ago and loved it so much! Great review, Nancy.


message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

So glad you loved it!! I just finished it yesterday and loved it. I could be friends with Eleanor, just like Ove. Such a great book. Wonderful review.


AsimovsZeroth (asimovszerothlaw) | 436 comments OKAY, OKAY! I'll put it on my list already guys and dolls. I get it, I definitely seem to be missing out here. Thanks for the review Nancy! It sounds highly entertaining and quite a bit more serious than the synopsis might have led me to believe.


NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 4988 comments Rachel wrote: "So glad you loved it!! I just finished it yesterday and loved it. I could be friends with Eleanor, just like Ove. Such a great book. Wonderful review."

Ellen wrote: "I read this book for the friendship tag a few months ago and loved it so much! Great review, Nancy."

Yes, it really does fit friendship best. I think I originally put it on a shelf called "odd people need friends too." It reminds me to reach out a little more.


NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 4988 comments LiteraryMania wrote: "OKAY, OKAY! I'll put it on my list already guys and dolls. I get it, I definitely seem to be missing out here. Thanks for the review Nancy! It sounds highly entertaining and quite a bit more seriou..."

Well I learned recently just because my friends loved a book it doesn't mean I will. If it doesn't sound like your kind of book, I'd wait on it. So many books, so little time!


AsimovsZeroth (asimovszerothlaw) | 436 comments NancyJ wrote: "LiteraryMania wrote: "OKAY, OKAY! I'll put it on my list already guys and dolls. I get it, I definitely seem to be missing out here. Thanks for the review Nancy! It sounds highly entertaining and q..."

Oh certainly. I may or may not get to it. I add things to my TBR and browse at my leisure. It's definitely sounding more interesting to me over the course of reading reviews here, including yours. I just don't seek out much contemporary fiction. I've liked quite a lot of it, but I find more consistent pleasure in other genres. I might like it, might not, but that's the risk we all take. Certainly worth a shot, it seems.


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