The story of Eleanor Oliphant takes place in Scotland as we learn more about the 30 year old’s day to day life. She has worked in the same office doing finances since the age of 21, eats the same meal deal for lunch everyday and spends her weekends polishing of 2 bottles of vodka before starting the week fresh. In short, Eleanor Oliphant appears to be nothing extraordinary. A rather prim and proper character, she struggles to have any meaningful interactions with her work colleagues and lacks in the friends department due to her odd behaviour. That all changes when a small act of kindness takes her entire life out of the comfort zone it has been sitting in for almost a decade and forces her to address how exactly she is living her life.
When I first started reading this novel I struggled to like Eleanor. Her little quirks irritated me and her stand-offish manner made me side with her colleagues. However as the novel progresses and we learn more about Eleanor, her life, and her past, I genuinely began to root for her. Without giving too much away she is a woman who suffered through a lot in her life and has never really dealt with the consequences of her childhood properly. Her development throughout the book is exceptionally well done.
Aside from Eleanor, Gail Honeywell has created a small cast of characters that add colour and life to the novel from the start. Raymond, the office IT whiz, is the exact opposite of Eleanor and an unlikely friendship blossoms when fate pulls them together on multiple occasions. His kind and scruffy manner is the perfect when placed next to the strict life Eleanor leads. It is, in part, thanks to Ray’s kindness that Eleanor begins to piece together the portions of her past that she has locked away for so long.
The end of the novel featured a small twist that I had not seen coming and kept it interesting right to the last page. If you’re looking for a read that will have you laughing out loud but also wiping away tears then Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is the novel for you. Brava, Gail Honeywell, I cannot wait to see what is next!
Have you discovered Eleanor Oliphant’s secret past?