2022 Reading Review: “Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine”

Oh, Miss Oliphant. What a life you’ve led. I’ve been recommended Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine for years now. And I finally decided it was time to give it a go. Like a lot of other experiences I’ve had in picking up a certain book at a certain time, this book got to me right when I needed to read it.

And yet I’m at a loss for what to write about it. I enjoyed it. I found myself constantly saying, “Just one more chapter”. This book was a great journey. So, I feel like I should have tons to say about it.

But I’m struggling. I wonder if it’s because some of it hit me a bit too hard, or I related a bit too much. Maybe that’s why I’m type-tied (instead of tongue-tied? Get it?)

I guess I’ll just go my normal route and see where it takes me. I’m gonna try to avoid all spoilers here, but if I have any, I’ll try to keep ’em to the Opinions section as usual.

Story

Eleanor Elephant’s life seems pretty typical. She gets up, goes to work, does a crossword puzzle at lunch, comes home, eats the same dinner every night, and goes to sleep. She doesn’t suffer the buffoonery of her coworkers and rather doesn’t care much for people in general. But after winning a raffle and getting to see a local band play a gig, she falls head-over-heels for this stranger and knows he’s the one to turn her life around.

And while planning how exactly she will woo her music man, her life does start turning around all on its own. Striking up a friendship with a coworker and helping an injured man, Eleanor finds her typical life is starting to change. And that’s gonna awaken a lot more change for our dear Miss Oliphant.

It’s hard to write a description for this book. I don’t want to give too much away. But it is very much a “day in the life” type story. So, sometimes you might wonder where the story is going or if you’re going to get swept away out of nowhere. Stay on the journey with Eleanor. By the end, you’ll find a kinship with her.

Characters

Eleanor Oliphant—or Miss Oliphant to you. The entire book is written in Eleanor’s POV. She’s a straightforward and no-nonsense type of person—literally. Eleanor doesn’t get things. She rarely associates with people, doesn’t seem to grasp social norms, and usually finds herself engrossed in crossword puzzles and vodka rather than popular television. Honestly, while you’re reading, you might find yourself asking, “Is she for real?”

But the more you learn about Eleanor, the more she works her way into your heart. She is unintentionally funny, and her lack of social graces somehow don’t get her into as much hot water as you would think. But underneath that exterior that reads “completely fine”, she’s a lonely soul.

Then there’s Raymond. Raymond is a coworker who strikes up an unlikely companionship with Eleanor. And honestly it’s not exactly something Eleanor would’ve wanted herself. But he’s a good-humored man, despite Eleanor’s description of his drab appearance, and he overlooks Eleanor’s communication issues. They develop a genuine friendship throughout the book, something that Eleanor has been in real need of.

Writing

While it took me a bit to fall into the writing, I enjoyed it. You quickly realize that, yes, Eleanor tells this story, which means it’s written almost exactly as she would speak. So, sometimes the prose can seem very stiff. But that’s Eleanor. She lives in the world, but doesn’t really connect with it. And you can tell this through the writing.

Once I got into it, I realized how well the story flowed. It was definitely a page-turner. Every chapter I finished, I wanted to keep going. I wanted to understand Eleanor, who she was, and why she was the way she was. It definitely paid off in the end.

Aside from a few French words thrown in now-and-then—Eleanor quite likes throwing a dash of these into her narration—it was an easy read with a nice flow. And, as I said, difficult to put down once you get into it. (And, honestly, the language vocabulary words that Eleanor added were never challenging in terms of reading; it actually just added to the character and really made it feel like it was her that was telling the story to us.)

Will You Like This?

Do you like stories that flow through the days of a person’s life, slowing revealing more and more about the main character?
Are you okay with reading about difficult life circumstances?
Does it warm your heart to read tales of overcoming trauma and the kindness and compassion of others?

Then come meet Miss Oliphant. Seriously, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is definitely worth a read.

That’s it. That’s the review. Thanks for coming, folks! Read this book!

Opinion (Spoilers)

I loved this book. Sure, I’m speechless about it, but it’s because I don’t want to give a ton away. I just think it’s worth reading and falling in to.

I’ll be honest, there were a scary number of times where I related to Eleanor’s struggles. Not to her extreme, but there were a few moments that hit me a bit hard. How she struggled to connect with the world and people. She didn’t know how to relate to them. And, in turn, she decided she didn’t want to. While that might be true, she also admits to being very lonely.

I’ve been there. And maybe that’s why I loved her so much. But if you don’t relate to her, you might know someone who reminds you of her. That’s a great part of the book: Eleanor, despite how outlandish she can sometimes seem, is a very normal, everyday person. She could be anyone.

And that is an essential part of the story. How we’re all human, all going through things, and we sometimes act in ways that don’t make sense. But sometimes there are reasons for it. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is a wonderful reminder of the power of kindness and compassion. It also reminds us of something we all forget: you never know what another person is battling inside themselves.

Read this book!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *