What I have been reading
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman.
I took a chance on this popular book and I am so pleased that I did.
Once you get through the first few pages, it is obvious that Eleanor is not completely fine. From a very protected and regimented routine, she learns to accept changes to her life, many of them imposed upon her. This adversely affects her with extreme challenges to every aspect of her rather sheltered life.
Eleanor’s social life is largely non-existent. Her only social contacts are at work in the accounts department of a large graphic design company. She keeps very much to herself and rarely has contact with anyone on weekends, except while shopping. Her solitary weekends are spent alone with two large bottles of vodka to numb the pain of her self imposed social isolation, as well as the memories of a painful childhood.
When she has problems with her work computer she meets the company IT specialist Raymond. He is her complete opposite. She finds his eating habits repulsive, his dress sense totally lacking and his general lifestyle choices unfathomable. In a random act of care, they join forces to help elderly Sammy during a medical episode. From that point on their relationship blossoms into a close friendship.
Eleanor becomes infatuated with a musician who becomes the catalyst for her to undertake a complete makeover in her appearance. When a carefully planned encounter with the “man of her dreams” goes terribly wrong, Eleanor’s world crumbles to ruins around her. She tries to erase the pain through excessive drinking of vodka until Raymond comes to her rescue. At his insistence, she seeks medical help.
Through many sessions with a compassionate and understanding psychologist Maria Temple, Eleanor slowly confronts her horrific childhood memories. The focus of these sessions eventually helps Eleanor to distance herself from her cruel and obsessive “Mummy”.
Her extremely quirky nature reminded me so many times of Don Tillman (The Rosie Project). I very much enjoyed this novel and the twist at the end caught me by surprise.
Highly recommended. I give it five stars.