Book Club: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

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Author: Gail Honeyman
ISBN: 978-0-00-817212-1
RRP: $29.99

A contemporary fiction that sounds like a story everyone can relate to, with a cover that grabbed my attention.

Anyone describing themself as Completely Fine is enough to have my empathy-senses tingling. People describe how they are doing in a multitude of ways, sometimes more honestly than others, but Fine usually means they aren’t really fine at all so Completely Fine sets all sorts of alarm bells ringing.

The burnt matchsticks house on the cover doesn’t inspire confidence in the fine-ness of our heroine. The blurb on the back of the book is a lot less detailed than the synopsis I just discovered on Goodreads because on further exploration different editions have a different synopsis.

I look forward to sinking my teeth into this one, a little bit later, even more so now that I have read the more detailed description.

Eleanor Oliphant has learned how to survive – but not how to live

Eleanor Oliphant leads a simple life. She wears the same clothes to work every day, eats the same meal deal for lunch every day and buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink every weekend.

Eleanor Oliphant is happy. Nothing is missing from her carefully timetabled life. Except, sometimes, everything.

One simple act of kindness is about to shatter the walls Eleanor has built around herself. Now she must learn how to navigate the world that everyone else seems to take for granted – while searching for the courage to face the dark corners she’s avoided all her life.

Change can be good. Change can be bad. But surely any change is better than… fine?

Eleanor is socially awkward, scarred both physically and mentally, and a creature of habit. Her life is carefully timetabled and never changing and of course there are secrets in her past that caused her to grow into this person. The story uncovers those secrets as Eleanor finds the courage to face them.

Sounds like a great read and you can check out what our readers thought in the comments below.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is published by HarperCollins and is available now through Angus & Robertson Bookworld, Booktopia and where all good books are sold.

Thanks to HarperCollins 11 of our Beauty and Lace club members will be reading Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine so please be aware there may be spoilers in the comments

11 thoughts on “Book Club: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

  1. ‘Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine’ is the heart warming, yet disturbing story of a quirky and easily loveable charcter Ms Eleanor Oliphant if you please. Whilst Eleanor’s character takes some time to warm up to, I found in the end I didn’t want to put her down. She details her highly routined lifestyle and the (minimal) human transactions that she encounters until meeting also loveable Raymond who helps transform her life and bring her out into the world.

    Eleanor’s life was marred at a young age explaining her drawing away from society, her facial scars ensuring the distance between other humans remains. She fills her weekend with multiple bottles of vodka, more a coping mechanism than a celebration of getting through another dreary work week. The reasons behind her alcohol dependence further uncovered during the story with a desperate life saving mission by Raymond.

    The story nails abuse and its ever lasting effects along with loneliness, the value of friendship and leaves an open ending for me to hope that Eleanor and Raymond built on their friendship and found a happily ever after.

    Would definitely recommend.

  2. I would recommend reading this book as it could be a insight what loneliness can do to people. Eleanor has a chance to over come loneliness with the friends she meets along the way going about her business each day, she meets Raymond and starts to see that life can be different from being fine.

  3. This was a fantastic read! Dark yet the whole time you have this hope for Eleanor. It is also funny…which makes the book quirky. I loved every page of this book and had trouble putting it down.
    We follow Eleanor Oliphant who is scarred inside and out from a horrendous childhood, she is living her life ‘just fine’ which basically means just going through the motions…along the way she meets Raymond an IT guru in her office (I love her impression of him) and they become friends after helping an elderly man. I love watching Eleanor evolve slowly. Such a heartwarming story. Easily 5/5 stars from me.
    Thanks for yet another fab review Beauty & Lace and Harper Collins

  4. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

    Every day in Eleanor’s life is plotted out to be exactly the same. She eats her breakfast (one plate, one spoon), goes to work, comes home, listens to the radio and goes to bed. Friday nights she buys 2 bottles of vodka and that gets her through the long lonely weekend until back to work on Monday. But Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine.

    If you don’t let anyone close, then no one can hurt you.

    But a chance encounter with a work colleague on the way home from work one evening changes everything, and gradually Eleanor is drawn out of her solitary world and learns to view things in a different way. As she begins to mix with others, we learn of her dark background, and the pain that loneliness can hide.

    This was a very slow book, and if it wasn’t for book club, I would have given up at page 40, and page 80, and even at page 150. It was hard going to stick with it, but it had so many good reviews that I thought I must be missing something. The ending was satisfactory but predictable.

    Thank you Harper Collins and Beauty and Lace for the chance to read this book.

  5. Thank you so much for the opportunity to read and review Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. This is not a book I may have read on my own, but one I loved and that has stayed with me.

    Eleanor Oliphant has a very routine life – from her meals to her weekends with two bottles of vodka. She is so very sensible and has a basic wardrobe for her basic life.

    One day, by chance, she happens to be outside with a work colleague, Raymond and they help an older man which has a string of changes for their lives. At around the same time she starts to fantasize about a musician she has seen. With these events her life changes in many ways and she sees there are more possibilities for her world – if she is brave enough to take them.

    This is her journey from a different childhood to making decisions for herself and thinking about what she wants. I found there was a lot of humour in her thought processes and I was cheering for her the whole way – and still want to know how her story goes. It was a painful process for her, but one I am glad she came through to actually see the colours and possibilities of life.

    I would thoroughly recommend this book.

  6. ‘Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine’ is a novel by Gail Honeyman about a young woman and her mediocre, habitual existence.

    Eleanor leads a reclusive life, the result of a childhood deprived of the natural love and affection she craved. This, along with a terribly traumatic event has resulted in Eleanor becoming socially inept and emotionally immature. She struggles to understand the behaviour of others and finds their constant lack of social graces to be deplorable.

    The character relations were somewhat predictable, however the story is made more interesting with the author cleverly delving into the human psyche ensuring I became engrossed in Eleanor’s emotional development and maturity. There were numerous plot twists which made this story all the more enjoyable, and I appreciated the complex vocabulary used and the subtle comic relief from what could be a very depressing story.

    I highly recommend this thought provoking novel; a mixture of drama, romance and self development. An enjoyable read.

  7. Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine is a book that I would recommend to people wanting to read not your “average” story.
    Eleanor has been what could be described as average all her life, living a reclusive and lonely life that has left her socially awkward to say the least.
    Deprived of any love and affection as a child , Eleanor navigates her way through a lot of firsts in her life , sometimes with hilarious results.
    A wonderful mixture of plot twists keeps the reader highly entertained.
    There is also a mixture of sadness and humour in this interesting read.
    I would highly recommend this novel and want to thank Beauty and Lace and Harper Collins for allowing me to read and review this great novel.

  8. The cover of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine was enough to entice me in to request this novel to read. It features a very stark white background, with a picture of a burnt matchstick house. This disturbing front cover image had me thinking about all sorts of things might be covered in the book, from arson to pyromania and the destruction of a family unit. I was somewhat close in my predictions of this title, but this is a book that awarded me so much more.

    I had heard this book was amazing in the Goodreads community and book blogging world. Just the very fact that this book was shortlisted the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize for a work in progress, gives us an indication of its greatness. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine was a surprising read, it slowly crept up on me and I ended up enjoying it much more than I would have anticipated. I will be honest and admit it took some time to warm to Eleanor as a person. At first she reminded me of Don Tillman, the socially inept but highly intelligent genetics professor, who is the lead character in Graeme Simsion’s, The Rosie Project. I also had a few diagnoses going on in my mind for this character. These ranged from aspergers, to schizophrenia and childhood abuse. Early on in the piece, we learn Eleanor is mentally and physically scarred but it takes some gradual unfolding from Honeyman to reveal how and why Eleanor was injured. In fact, a twist near the close of the novel sheds further light on the truth to Eleanor’s background.

    Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine treads very important ground and touches on a subject area that I believe is completely lacking focus, loneliness. We live in an age where we are saturated by the influence of the social media. It seems young people in particular have no cause to be lonely, with such a selection of avenues to connect with the virtual world. The sad reality is there are many lonely members of society and they do not always fit the stereotypic mould of an elderly person. Honeyman works to draw our attention to loneliness. She also uses Eleanor’s story as a vessel to remind us that a small act of kindness can go a very long way.

    Eleanor’s metamorphosis is nothing short of amazing. We get a feeling of this transformation in the way the narrative is structured, from good days to bad days and finally better days. Eleanor is a character who is filled with opposing qualities, she is as wholesome as she is cutting. She is fierce but vulnerable. Never has a character got so under my skin as Eleanor and this is a tribute to Honeyman’s brilliant style as a character driven novelist. The secondary characters featured in this novel are a delight too. I loved Raymond and rooted for him and Eleanor all the way. Many of the periphery characters that pop up throughout the progression of the novel as so normal, which makes this novel truly stand out. It is a book that will connect with many readers for simpleness of it all.

    The mystery surrounding Eleanor’s background was one of the prime motivators for me to stay hooked with this tale. Honeyman uses the exact level of intrigue and gentle revelation to keep the reader sufficiently intrigued. When I reached the close of this novel, I was saddened and I didn’t feel ready to say goodbye to Eleanor. I had become an active bystander to her incredible transformation and felt proud of her as I closed the last chapter of her life.

    Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is a book that has it all. It is a rich and rewarding character driven story, full of humour, tears, mystery, friendship, kindness and love. I also loved the Scottish setting, a refreshingly different location base that I have not had to pleasure of reading before. I hope to hear much more from Gail Honeyman in the future, if Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is anything to go by!

    *I wish to thank Beauty & Lace and Harper Collins Australia for providing me with a copy of this book for review.

  9. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, is a challenging book. It deals with loneliness and kindness.

    Eleanor is a creature of habit, she eats, she sleeps, she works and she drinks. Not much else in her world. She is socially awkward and has many “quirks”.
    This all changes when a co-worker takes the time to get to know her.

    Eleanor is a really substantial character, I worried for Eleanor and I cried for Eleanor. Gail Honeyman does a great job of making us invest in the character. We want Eleanor to grow and be happy.

    There are some unexpected twists in Eleanors development and I would absolutely recommend this book.

  10. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine took me the longest time to finish. I end up downloading the audiobook to finally get to the end of the book, not to mention listening to parts on 3 times the standard speed.

    For at least 60% of the book I hated it and found it difficult to continue however I did enjoy the ending. The ending was not what I had expected and did leave me wanting more.

    Eleanor I did not find to be a likable character and she is a very peculiar person. Her obsession with the musician and always referring to her mother as mummy made me uncomfortable. She always expecting people to have good manner but I found herself to be rude to others.

    Raymond was the best thing about this book. I absolutely loved his character and enjoyed chapters where he was a strong focus. He was a great friend to Eleanor even when she was rude to him in her own strange little way. They could have made Raymond a love interest in the book but I am grateful that he remained a friend.

    This is being turned into a movie Reese Witherspoon and would see it after reading this book.

  11. the character Eleanor was a little hard to follow and understand.
    she filled her weekends by drinking bottles of vodka just so she could cope with the mundane weeks ahead
    Eleanor believed if you dont let people into your life they carnt hurt you anymore
    i found some humor in the way she thought the difficulties she pushed through to finally realise that there is colour and hope in the world after all
    a very strange but interesting read

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