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Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine
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May 2020: Comedy > Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine - Gail Honeyman - 3 stars

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Nikki | 661 comments I want to admit up front that two of the reasons that I didn’t love this book are totally unreasonable grounds for judging it:

1) I accidentally read a review containing a significant spoiler (I wish people would tag these more carefully!) and I suspect the book would have had more impact if I’d gone into it with less knowledge.

2) I picked it up because of a book club challenge to read books tagged ‘comedy’ and so – foolishly, given my prior knowledge of the contents – I approached it expecting something light and funny. I’d just enjoyed reading The Rosie Project and so was in the mood for another book along the same lines, and to begin with this seemed to fit the bill – perhaps this was another book written from the point of view of a charmingly quirky loner with a reliance on routine and structure? This one got a lot darker as it went on though – not necessarily a bad thing, but not what I’d picked it up looking for.

I don’t think this would have been a perfect fit for me even if I’d gone into it cold & in a more serious frame of mind, though. I did warm to Eleanor and found the darkest sections of the book moving, but in the end (ironically) it was the attempt to portray her story as charming and humorous that lost me. A light-hearted portrayal of such traumatic material felt unsatisfying to me – it was too dark to be an easy feel-good read, but too superficial and tidy to feel like a genuine portrayal of the issues it touched upon.


message 2: by Amy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy | 8846 comments I Have two thoughts to your well written review. I was also shocked this was tagged comedy. There is absolutely nothing funny about it. Two, it’s sad that people have to put spoilers in their reviews. That’s such a disservice to the story. I’m actually mad about that. I try really hard to say very little and sort of just give an ambiance feel.


message 3: by NancyJ (last edited May 15, 2020 06:46PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 5570 comments Oh, that's too bad. This book came up in the first thread discussing this tag, and a couple of us warned that it's really not a comedy despite the humor. It's such a mix of dark and light, despair and humor, that everyone is going to see if differently. The descriptions in the reviews are wildly disparate, covering the whole spectrum. You're almost better off not knowing anything about the book going in, but someone in my book club argued that it could really trigger anyone who's experienced childhood trauma. I found it very moving, and the part that stayed with me the longest was the friendship between Eleanor and Raymond (?).


Nikki | 661 comments Thanks for your comments both of you. I clearly should have read the tag discussion thread more closely!


Jason Oliver | 2063 comments I am with Amy, Very upset that the book was spoiled for you. If mental health wins, this is my book. Been meaning to get to it.

Nikki, very well written review. Sorry the book wasn't for you.


DianeMP | 423 comments It's too bad the book didn't resonate with you. But considering the book was spoiled for you, it must have had a significant impact on how you liked the book. Having experienced childhood trauma I am
intrigued with the possibility of exploring that in the book. I am hoping to bring closure to some of my issues from the past.


Nikki | 661 comments Thank you Jason & Diane - I'll be interested to hear what you both think if you do read it.

Diane - I hope you do find it helpful. The messages that the author has Eleanor learn about herself and her past are certainly ones that are well worth hearing.


message 8: by Amy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy | 8846 comments I know I’ve said this before, but this is how Jason and I met. He showed up in PBT - And happen to be reading the same exact obscure book. I was a few chapters ahead. And you know I hate to give spoilers. But I just kept on inadvertently doing it! I think we both started cracking up. That was funny. The only non-spoiler I would offer about Eleanor, is that it has sparked much discussion, and that Susie and I had very strong feelings about it. That we alluded to publicly and shared privately. I really hope the topic isn’t mental health. That’s the last thing I need. I actually try to stay away from those themes in my novels that I read. If that’s the topic that’s perfect, I’m going professional. Unless the right novel emerges.


Jason Oliver | 2063 comments Amy, I remember this but forgot what book. Do you remember the book?


message 10: by Amy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy | 8846 comments It was a Karen White book. The reason I kept spoiling it for you, it’s because he kept reminding me so vividly of big little lies. And my constant veiled references to that went to been so revealing if you weren’t reading it at the exact same time.


Jason Oliver | 2063 comments The Night The Lights Went Out.


message 12: by Amy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy | 8846 comments Yes!


message 13: by Meli (new) - rated it 5 stars

Meli (melihooker) | 3391 comments I absolutely loved this! Sorry you didn't enjoy it.

@Amy - lol!


message 14: by Robin P (last edited May 17, 2020 02:50PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Robin P | 1859 comments I also didn't find this funny. And as with many novels, the "different" hero or heroine seems to emerge from a shell, make friends and adapt unrealistically fast. I thought that both The Rosie Project and 600 Hours of Edward handled this better. Also one I just read, Convenience Store Woman that validates being ok the way you are.


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