Book Reviews

Book Review: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Publisher: HarperCollins

Published: 18th May 2017

Format: Audiobook

Length: 11 hours and 36 mins

Trigger warnings: click here
  • Child abuse
  • Self harm
  • Sexual assault
  • Physical and emotional abuse
  • Alcoholism
  • Depression
  • Suicide attempt

Synopsis

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 ever weekend.

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


If someone asks you how you are, you are meant to say FINE. You are not meant to say that you cried yourself to sleep last night because you hadn’t spoken to another person for two consecutive days. FINE is what you say.”

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is one of the best audiobooks I have ever listened to! Cathleen McCarron is a brilliant narrator and she moves effortlessly between the various Scottish accents. I thought she did a wonderful job of bringing the characters voices to life, especially Eleanor.

At 29, Eleanor works in an office but has no interaction with anyone outside of work. She is socially awkward and laments the fact that everyone else is rude and uncouth. When Eleanor gets acquainted with the new IT guy from her office, Raymond, they are brought together by an act of kindness.

I couldn’t help but root for Eleanor who makes sharp observations on modern life. She has great character development and an offbeat sense of humour. I especially loved the friendship she builds with Raymond who is a sweet and unassuming guy.

Eleanor learns not to judge people on their appearance or demeanour alone. Likewise, the reader is reminded about the importance of empathy since Eleanor is mocked by her co-workers who think she is strange.

This book explores loneliness and Eleanor’s feeling of isolation is something I think a lot of people can relate to. I initially assumed this would be a light, quirky story and was surprised at how dark it gets. Eleanor has to deal with her inner demons which affects her mental health. This could be triggering to read for people in similar situations which is why I have included trigger warnings. Ultimately though, Eleanor’s story is of hope and the novel has light to balance the dark.

My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

One thought on “Book Review: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

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