Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine // Gail Honeyman

“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.”

-Gail Honeyman, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine


I think just about everyone else in the world has enjoyed the whims of Eleanor Oliphant by now, but alas, here I am, behind on the times as usual.  This is just the book I needed after such a stressful semester.  Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is a “cozy” novel; Eleanor’s quirks will warm your heart, and you’ll find yourself rooting for her throughout the novel.  It’s one of those books you read just for the character and her story- Eleanor is truly something else.


From the back cover:

Meet Eleanor Oliphant.  She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking.  Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life, where weekends mostly consist of frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy.  But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling IT guy from her office, whose big heart will ultimately help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one.  Smart, warm, and uplifting, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is the story of an out-of-the-ordinary heroine whose deadpan weirdness and wit make for an irresistible journey as she realizes the only way to survive is to open your heart.


“There are days when I feel so lightly connected to the earth that the threads that tether me to the planet are gossamer thin, spun sugar.  A strong gust of wind could dislodge me completely, and I’d lift off and blow away, like one of those seeds in a dandelion clock.  The threads tighten slightly from Monday to Friday.”

-Gail Honeyman, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine


Honeyman’s writing is very readable, in the sense that it’s not drowning in difficult prose, and you’ll be desperate to continue reading to find out what happens to Eleanor.  When the novel was longlisted for this year’s Women’s Prize for Fiction, it was A Controversy to say the least; I remember many reviewers claiming Eleanor Oliphant was too “commercial” and not “literary” enough.  Now that I’ve read it, I can say with confidence that Honeyman’s novel was fully deserving of its place on the list.

Though the writing may be described as readable, the subject matter is certainly much more difficult to handle.  Underneath the main character’s personality quirks, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is a dark story involving child abuse and severe depression, but told with heart through the most blunt, eccentric character I’ve ever read (in the best way possible).  I enjoyed this novel immensely; Eleanor’s story and its very shocking ending (one that I was not expecting at all) will stay with me for a long time.

Find this book on Goodreads.

4 thoughts on “Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine // Gail Honeyman

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