Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine Paperback – 30 May 2017
|Paperback, 30 May 2017||
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‘A truly original literary creation: funny, touching and unpredictable. Her journey out of the shadows is expertly woven and absolutely gripping’ Jojo Moyes
‘Unforgettable, brilliant, funny and life-affirming’ Wendy Holden, DAILY MAIL
‘Original [and] unexpectedly funny’ SUNDAY TIMES
‘An outstanding debut about loneliness and the power of a little kindness’ MAIL ON SUNDAY
‘Heartbreaking and heartwarming’ STYLIST
‘Brave, smart and funny… the most refreshing and heartwarming debut I’ve read in some time’ YORKSHIRE POST
‘A narrative full of quiet warmth and deep and unspoken sadness… Wonderful and joyful’ Jenny Colgan, GUARDIAN
‘Moving, funny and devastating’ THE HERALD
‘Heartwrenching and wonderful’ Nina Stibbe
‘Deft, compassionate and moving’ Paula McLain
‘I adored it. Skilled, perceptive, Eleanor's world will feel familiar to you from the very first page. An outstanding debut!’ Joanna Cannon
‘A truly original voice and so good on loneliness: I sobbed and sobbed’ Cathy Rentzenbrink
‘Hugely original, a funny and sad tale of a survivor who tackles the challenges of emotional reconnection with grave courage. Unmissable.’ SUNDAY EXPRESS
‘Quirky, witty and absorbing’ HEAT
‘Warm and funny, moving and deeply original, Eleanor Oliphant is completely marvellous’ Gavin Extence
‘A beautiful and delicate balance between funny and heartbreaking… restores your faith in humanity’ RED
‘You’ll laugh and cry reading this fine debut’ PRIMA
‘Impeccable’ Dawn O’Porter
‘So powerful – I completely loved Eleanor Oliphant’ Fiona Barton
‘Heartbreaking’ Bryony Gordon
‘Delightful, dark and moving’ Sarah Pinborough
‘Warm, quirky and fun, with a real poignancy underneath’ Julie Cohen
‘A stunning debut! I laughed, wept and reflected’ Lucy Clarke
‘As perceptive and wise as it is funny and endearing… Warm, funny and thought-provoking’ OBSERVER
‘An absolute joy, laugh-out-loud funny but deeply moving’ DAILY EXPRESS
‘Satisfyingly quirky’ NEW YORK TIMES
Debut Sunday Times Bestseller and Costa First Novel Book Award winner
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- Item Weight : 304 g
- ISBN-10 : 0008258252
- Paperback : 400 pages
- ISBN-13 : 978-0008258252
- Dimensions : 20 x 14 x 4 cm
- Publisher : Harper Collins (30 May 2017)
- Language: : English
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from India
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“Some people, weak people, fear solitude. What they fail to understand is that you don’t need anyone, you can take care of yourself.”
One fine day Eleanor finds her computer is not working so she calls up the IT guy, Raymond. Raymond is not someone she can like. He doesn’t fit her definition of proper man as provided by Mummy besides she has already found a proper man. He is a musician. Eleanor develops a middle school crush on the musician leading to changes in her physical appearance. On the other hand, her interactions with Raymond increase after they save an old man on the street. A new world opens to Eleanor, one she didn’t know existed. She made choices she didn’t know were there. It is funny and sad when Eleanor describes day to day things in a new perspective. And Eleanor is hilarious. This is how she describes her mug “I purchased it in a charity shop some years ago, and it has a photograph of a moon-faced man. He is wearing a brown leather blouson. Along the top, in the strange yellow font, it says ‘Top Gear’. I don’t profess to understand this mug. It holds the perfect amount of vodka, however, thereby obviating the need for frequent refills.”
But what’s the reason for Eleanor’s utter loneliness? Why doesn’t she use a phone or talk to anyone? What happened to her that she has a scar on her face? Why is Mummy so rude to her? A set of changes forces Eleanor to face her past, the one she didn’t want to remember. The past she removed from her memory.
Maybe change is better than fine.
Well, Eleanor’s vocabulary is awesome, and she treats herself like royalty. Which made me think our world is what we want it to be. The way she carries herself makes it evident that it’s easy to exist, but it takes an effort to live. Her loneliness and lack of emotions touched a nerve. Raymond is such a kindred spirit. While reading I was so afraid that maybe now Raymond will walk out and leave Eleanor alone. It’s a feel-good book. Makes you believe that there are still good people out there. And once you start running for the bus the universe provides.
What I didn’t like how the author doesn’t go into the detail of Eleanor’s past. But maybe it’s just me.
“In the end, what matters is this: I survived.”
Eleanor works in an office, is shunned by her coworkers, and leads an isolated life. This starts to change when two men enter her life - her new coworker Raymond, and a singer she encounters at a music concert. Eleanor becomes infatuated with the singer and begins to experiment with changing her style, even as her friendship with Raymond deepens.
Eleanor is an endearing character, as is Raymond. As their love story unfolds, it is heartening to find that even someone as damaged as Eleanor is able to find someone who loves her, warts and all. Eleanor's courage in seeing a counsellor and her journey to wholeness are inspiring.
The book is written in a light style, which helps to soften its heavy subject matter. This book is a must-read for people who have experienced mental health issues and are looking for an uplifting tale.
I could relate to Eleanor on many levels.
This book was touching without being overly-sentimental, consuming and nothing less than a roller coaster ride. You will be laughing at one page and crying a bucket full of tears on the next one.
Eleanor Oliphant lives a monotonous and lonely life. She doesn't have friends and she has no one to share her life with. However, she asserts that she is fine and she doesn't need anyone.
Because of a certain turn of events, she befriends Raymond, an IT guy in her office and becomes a bit more social. She feels somewhat happy but her happiness is short lived because her terrifying past keeps on disturbing her.
The story is told in the first person narrative. I really liked the fact that we get an insight into her mind and thoughts, which the people around her don't have an access to. The themes of abuse, violence, mental illness and toxicity are absolutely heartbreaking.
This book is funny as well as heart wrenching. There is a certain mystery about her past life which has influenced her nature. This book is about survival and the need to live one's life fully. This one is a must-read.
My rating: 4.5/5
Eleanor is floppy and weird and crazy and so real. SHE FELT SO DAMN REAL. She would speak her heart out and would not filter (or doesn't know how to filter) what she speaks. I wanted to hug her and tell her that it's okay, she will be fine. I am sooooo emotionally drained after reading this book. The mental health representation is very well portrayed. The language is easy, simple and engaging. The twist got me like... "Wait. What?". It was an incredible read and Eleanor is staying with me for a while. It's not yet time to say her Goodbye. The book doesn't fail to give you a couple of giggles and that's what I loved about it. Pick it up you..pretty please.
Top reviews from other countries
We are asked to believe that an alcoholic can drink herself into complete oblivion every single weekend, but never misses a single day's work due to her alcoholism. Has the author ever met any real alcoholics?
We are asked to swallow the ludicrous idea that a grown woman of Eleanor's age and intelligence seriously believes a bit of a makeover is all it will take for her to win the lead singer of a band, (a man she has never ever spoken to) as her true love. Not even a twelve year old with crush would think this fantasy could actually become reality.
My real beef, however, is reserved for "Mummy". I was bothered all the way along by the implausible idea that this homicidal psychopath had been allowed to keep in weekly phone contact with her abused daughter from her prison cell. It simply didn't ring true. Turns out it wasn't true and Eleanor is even more of a total nut case than we ever dreamed. Not to fear, readers! Apparently all that is needed to cure a psychotic delusion of some twenty years standing is a few outreach counselling sessions. How come we have anyone in a psychiatric hospital if clinical psychosis is that easy to cure?
So, Eleanor Oliphant is empatically NOT fine. In real life she would probably have been sectioned, but clearly there is nothing remotely "real" about this book which manages to trivialize both genuine loneliness, alcoholism and severe mental illness in one fell swoop!
I would compare it to two plays which are generally thought of as masterpieces, but which I find problematic. Anthony and Cleopatra and Death of a Salesman. Both of those seem to me to get bogged down in the misery of the characters, and lose momentum and engagement. I felt the same sort of thing reading Eleanor Oliphant. To put it another way, Kermode and Mayo in their film review radio show have a long running gag about the (now) critically acclaimed film, the Shawshank Redemption, that there is an awful lot of Shawshank before you get to the redemption. This is a redemptive book, but on the other hand ..........
So, the story (unsurprisingly) is that of Eleanor Oliphant, who is an accounts clerk at a small firm. She is a withdrawn loner, seen as strange by her co-workers, and is the butt of office jokes. She lives alone and her weekends consist of television, ready meals and two bottles of vodka, seeing no-one until she returns to work on Monday. As we follow Eleanor through the detail of her daily existence we learn about the tragedy of her life. A childhood dominated by a cruel mother who seems herself to have suffered something akin to Munchausen Syndrome, a subsequent adolescence spent in care, hints of something even darker, a loss of self esteem followed by an abusive relationship in early adulthood.
It is in this portrayal of abuse, loss of confidence, leading to further abuse, and eventually stultifying loneliness that the book is at its strongest. In fact in response to all she has been through, Eleanor has become deeply embittered and her consequent inability to interact with others exacerbates her loneliness. Eleanor's situation is one that it is all too convincing.
In her despair, Eleanor has developed a singular filter through which she looks at the world. In that, I would place this alongside such books as Matt Haig's the Humans, the Rosie Project, or the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime in its use of a disengaged voice to comment on society. Contrary to other reviews I have read, I would not, however, describe her as quirky. In a similar way,I find it very difficult to view this book as being in any way comic. Partially this is because I struggle to appreciate the comedy of embarrassment, and this frequently teeters along the edge of that. Mainly however, it is because Eleanor's worldview is that of a catastrophically damaged and consequently embittered person, and I just can't find any humour in that, it's just too painful. (Also a female friend tells me that a waxing scene is funnier than I, as a man can realise.)
As the story develops, we meet Raymond, who is the only chink of light in Eleanor's existence, and also catch sight of the man she hopes will be the love of her life. Raymond is an interesting feature of the book. Much has been written about the concept of the manic pixie dream girl, particularly in film. Often criticised as inherently sexist, the manic pixie dream girl is a kooky, quirky, woman who has no inner life, no purpose within the story, other than to help the staid,buttoned up hero realise that there is more to life than order and reason. Well, Raymond is a nailed on manic pixie dream boy.
The presence of Raymond highlights the other major difficulty I had with the book, the inconsistency of tone. At one level, and at its strongest, this is a book about abuse, loneliness and mental illness. It deals with those issues in what seems to be a realistic and meaningful way. But then the presence of Raymond and the way the book ends, has a much lighter tone,more akin to a fable or fairy tale. I am drawn to make a comparison with Jane Eyre. While it is both a compliment and massively unfair to compare this to one of the greatest works if literature ever written, I think it illustrates the point I am trying to make. Both are works about the redemption of a young woman who suffers an almost unimaginably difficult early life. Jane Eyre has a deeply satisfying tonal consistency. It also grips the reader from first to last. By contrast, I found the early part of this alienating, it then dived even deeper into the abyss, before final reaching redemption far too easily with too light an air.
As I have written this review, I have possibly become more sympathetic to the book, so perhaps it deserves three and a half stars.