Review 1523: Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine

Eleanor Oliphant leads a life of routine. She’s worked at the same company for years, doing the same job. She stops at the same stores on the same days and buys the same things. She has no friends, and her only human contact besides work and shopkeepers is her Wednesday phone call from her abusive mother. She doesn’t quite understand many interactions and often offends people. She also has a scar on one side of her face.

At a rock concert, she decides she has seen the man for her, the lead singer. She begins preparing a systematic approach to attract him. Around the same time, she meets the new corporate IT guy, Raymond, who is kind to her.

I have commented before about how much I dislike the custom of comparing a book to another book in its publicity. I understand that publicists are trying to build on the other book’s popularity, but if I loved the other book, I am always skeptical that I will find any resemblance. In this case, the comparison kept me from reading this book because I felt that the book it was compared to, A Man Called Ove, was cheap and manipulative. I finally read Eleanor Oliphant because a friend recommended it.

I have to say that I found this novel endearing and touching. At first, I was afraid that all of its humor would be around Eleanor’s eccentricities, but the depiction of her is more nuanced than that. You grow to care about Eleanor and the other characters as her friendship with Raymond opens her up to other people. There are hints of a horrific past, and you eventually come to admire Eleanor’s courage and resilience.

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8 thoughts on “Review 1523: Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine

  1. piningforthewest June 29, 2020 / 6:05 pm

    I enjoyed this one too. I like quirky characters and of course the reader quickly realises that Elinor is definitely not fine.

  2. Davida Chazan June 30, 2020 / 4:15 am

    You know, I’ve avoided this book but… you may have changed my mind!

    • whatmeread June 30, 2020 / 11:18 am

      Good! I think you’ll like it!

  3. Lisbeth Ekelöf July 1, 2020 / 6:20 am

    I really loved this book. Eleanor grows on you. She was very sensitively portrayed. It is one of the books I save on my shelves. I have not heard and did not make the connection to A Man Called Ove. I guess there are certain similarities though.

  4. Naomi July 6, 2020 / 3:35 pm

    Almost everyone loves this book and I feel like the only person on earth who hasn’t read it. But I plan to – I really do!

    • whatmeread July 6, 2020 / 5:56 pm

      Yes, I was skeptical, but it’s good!

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