Thursday, 1 February 2018

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine Review #MNBookClub

Those of you who follow my YouTube channel will know that each month I review the books I read that month. I have made a conscious effort for the past two years to read regularly and love disappearing into a different world every day! I have been selected to work with Mumsnet, reviewing their monthly Book Club books. The first of which, is Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman. It's Honeyman's debut novel, and I had heard so many good things about it, so was incredibly interested to read it. On the first few pages, you are drawn into Eleanor's world, where she questions her very existence. The book is set in Glasgow, although Eleanor herself has lived in many different places. Eleanor is an incredibly likeable character, in spite of clearly being a very literal and slightly pedantic person. She eats the same food every week and wears the same clothes to work. Eleanor is not interested in gossip or office tittle tattle. It's clear that Eleanor has had a difficult life, and it is mentioned early on that she has some form of facial disfiguration. She is not unhappy though, or that certainly isn't what comes across at the beginning of the book.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

It's fair to say that Eleanor is a creature of habit. Her week is spent at work and Wednesdays are the evening for her weekly chat with her Mummy. Weekends are spent with pizza and vodka. It's apparent from very early on in the book that her mother is in some kind of institution, possibly even prison. Eleanor always speaks about her mother with fear in her voice. She is controlled by her mummy, and is encouraged to take on a 'project' for a boyfriend. Cue an obsession worthy of any teenager on a musician, and a plot to make him fall in love with her!

Eleanor meets a man called Raymond at work. He's not got the best hygiene, and Eleanor is quite dismissive of him. However, it's their friendship which starts Eleanor on the road to realising that she has not had a normal childhood, and that's not OK. She then begins a journey of self-discovery, seeing a counsellor to try and decipher what had happened to her as a child. It is something she has locked deep into her brain, in a place that she doesn't want to go to. It is a heartbreaking tale at times, and can be very difficult to read.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

I loved that Eleanor found a happy ending of sorts, and I felt that the addition of something for her to love was definitely something she was missing in her life. At the end of the book there are two twists, one of which I had guessed earlier on and the other of which took me completely by surprise. I thought that the unpredictable plot twist was a wonderful way to end the book, and it really brought an extra dimension.

This book is a real page-turner. You want to know more, even though it is sometime painful to do so. Eleanor Oliphant is such a wonderful character and I am sure that we all see some of ourselves in her. It's not easy navigating life as an adult at the best of times, and Eleanor does it with awkward grace and order. It's thought-provoking and makes you question your priorities in life. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is being turned into a film by Reese Witherspoon and won the Costa First Book Award. I look forward to seeing the film when it is released, and also to reading the next novel from Gail Honeyman when it is published.

Disclosure: I received this book for the purpose of this post, but no payment has been received. This review is honest and fair and all opinions are my own.

HelpfulMum
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