Everyone is reading and loving Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, and now I’ve joined that club. It’s easy to see why this has been such a great success. It’s moving, funny, and relatable (maybe only in very small ways to some people! I’ll come back to this later).
Eleanor Oliphant is a woman with serious social issues. She tries to convince herself she is fine, but she so clearly is not. We learn about her life, and slowly about her history. Some events happen to change her clearly carved out, rigid routine and the book follows the consequences of this. No spoilers here!
It’s such a great book. I really love Eleanor. She doesn’t do things just because it is expected, or the done thing. She questions everything and makes her own mind up about them. I loved this about her, probably because I’m a bit like that too. Not to aaaannnnyywhere near the extent that Eleanor is, but you know, I could see some of myself in her socially awkward charm.
I think most people occasionally feel like they don’t fit in, or feel a bit awkward. Maybe not everyone, I don’t know, there must be some psychopaths who never feel these things. And so I think everyone at some level can relate to Eleanor, even though she is very, very extreme. You also feel very sorry for Eleanor and her situation. From very early on you are rooting for her to get more in her life!
Eleanor’s observations can also be very funny.
I went to see Loretta, the office manager. She has overinflated ideas of her own administrative abilities, and in her spare time makes hideous jewellery, which she then sells to idiots.
I did feel personally attacked by this one though, on music and physics:
I have yet to find a genre of music that I enjoy; it’s basically audible physics, waves and energised particles, and, like most sane people, I have no interest in physics.
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine does go to very dark places, but even the darkest moments are littered with humour.
I wanted to die – this time, in addition to actually wanting to die, I meant it in the metaphorical sense too.
So join the bandwagon with me and, if you haven’t already read it, go and read Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine.