- File Size: 25123 KB
- Print Length: 383 pages
- Publisher: HarperCollins; ePub edition edition (18 May 2017)
- Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers (AU)
- Language: English
- ASIN: B01MAYG70K
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Customer Reviews: 14,783 customer ratings
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #166 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
HarperCollins Publishers (AU)
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Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine: One of the Most Extraordinary Sunday Times Best Selling Fiction Books of the Last Decade. Kindle Edition with Audio/Video
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|Length: 383 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||
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About the Author
Gail was also awarded the Scottish Book Trust's Next Chapter Award in 2014, and has been longlisted for BBC Radio 4's Opening Lines and shortlisted for the Bridport Prize. She lives in Glasgow. --This text refers to the paperback edition.
‘A truly original literary creation: funny, touching and unpredictable. Her journey out of the shadows is expertly woven and absolutely gripping’ Jojo Moyes
‘Original [and] unexpectedly funny’ SUNDAY TIMES
‘As perceptive and wise as it is funny and endearing… Warm, funny and thought-provoking’ OBSERVER
‘A narrative full of quiet warmth and deep and unspoken sadness… Wonderful and joyful’ Jenny Colgan, GUARDIAN
‘Unforgettable, brilliant, funny and life-affirming’ Wendy Holden, DAILY MAIL
‘I adored it. Skilled, perceptive, Eleanor's world will feel familiar to you from the very first page. An outstanding debut!’ Joanna Cannon
‘Hugely original, a funny and sad tale of a survivor who tackles the challenges of emotional reconnection with grave courage. Unmissable.’ SUNDAY EXPRESS
‘A truly original voice and so good on loneliness: I sobbed and sobbed’ Cathy Rentzenbrink
‘An outstanding debut about loneliness and the power of a little kindness’ MAIL ON SUNDAY
‘So powerful – I completely loved Eleanor Oliphant’ Fiona Barton
‘An absolute joy, laugh-out-loud funny but deeply moving’ DAILY EXPRESS
‘Heartbreaking’ Bryony Gordon
‘Deft, compassionate and moving’ Paula McLain
‘Heartwrenching and wonderful’ Nina Stibbe
‘Heartbreaking and heartwarming’ STYLIST
‘Brave, smart and funny… the most refreshing and heartwarming debut I’ve read in some time’ YORKSHIRE POST
‘Moving, funny and devastating’ THE HERALD
‘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
‘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
‘Satisfyingly quirky’ NEW YORK TIMES--This text refers to the paperback edition.
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Eleanor appears to be on the spectrum with her view of the world. As she starts to develop her first friendships she realises that she has been withdrawn and missing out on companionship. She also realises that she is very judgemental and that it is wrong to think a person's outward appearance matches their inner self.
Following this journey of Eleanor's has made me realise that friendships and happiness should never be taken for granted and small acts of kindness can mean the world to another person.
A lovely book that made me appreciate the little things.
I wouldn’t have read this before but I am so very glad I did
I loved the story and as for Eleanor OMG I totally fell in love with her character and quirkiness
I was sad to finish it and would definitely recommend this book to everyone I know
A very sad story, although I never clicked that her Mother had died, yet still terrorised her weekly - in fact, more than that.
It is a great story of relationships, encouragement, and fighting through adversity.
Oh, and I loved the variety of unusual words dropped in from time to time. Some gave me cause to be thankful for the dictionary build into to the Kindle app.
Thank you Gail, I have recommended the book to others. It was more than entertaining, it was like looking into a troubled person’s life and seeking them find confidence, hope and happiness!
<i> " This is what I felt: the warm weight of his hands on me; the genuineness in his smile; the gentle heat of something opening, the way some flowers spread out in the morning at the sight of the sun. I knew what was happening. It was the unscarred piece of my heart. It was just big enough to let in a bit of affection. There was still a tiny bit of room left."<i/>
As Eleanor herself somewhat hesitantly acknowledged <i>"one only gets a single chance to make a first impression".<i/> What an exceptional first impression this authors writing has made upon thousands of readers and I for one cannot wait to see what comes next.
Top international reviews
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.
I read it to the end for book club, but it left me feeling like crawling into the back of a dark closet and sitting there for a day or two. (I went outside and tried to recover with some therapeutic gardening instead)
A quick synopsis, and maybe has a spoiler, a single lady aged 30 who has serious mental health issues cos she has a lot of ACE's maybe a serious personality disorder and has serious romantic delusions about a guy in a rock group, paranoia and hallucinations thinking her mum calls her every week but she died 20 years before! Also , Eleanor is judgemental by appearance, rude/ignorant and has some traits that are incompatible with being an adult!
And the guy who fixes the work IT systems helps her at work you think maybe "oh , thats nice he fancies her" ,he doesn't, he is seeing someone else , a good looking confident woman! So , Eleanor wil never get further with Raymond than sharing a scone and a coffee.
It seemed to have been stitched together very badly and was thinking "ah come on, as IF" .
There are some witty one liners, maybe the author should try comedy instead of psychosis next time?
Depressing and pointless. Not for me , sorry.
Yes, Eleanor is an oddball, someone who has failed to find social balance, she is a figure of fun at work, with her long hair down to her legs and practical, velcro shoes. Yet, she stoically wards off the mean and undermining comments from her fellow workers and gets on with her life (with a little help from copious amounts of Vodka).
At a concert she is very taken with pop star Johnnie Lomond, and plots to cast him as the man in her life. The fantasy of course cannot match the reality and she soon realises that she can’t simply command him to be her partner, despite much preparation in the wings.
Raymond at the office is a companionable sort and she soon finds herself spending time with him and learning the ropes of social interaction. They visit his mother together, eat their sandwiches at the same place and it is with him that she learns how to behave with another person and how social norms are all part of the human condition for a potentially fulfilling life.
She has closed down her emotions, she functions and she begins to wonder whether her life is indeed fine. It is clear that some trauma has befallen her (there is a clue on the book cover), as she has scarring across one side of her face. She is also conditioned to speak with her mother, once a week on a Wednesday evening. Within moments of calling, her mother is being utterly abusive to her but again, she sidesteps the nasty words and observations. She has already been damaged on many levels and her mother’s cutting criticism simply gets sidelined. Eleanor also had a longer term relationship that replicated the abuse her mother gave her.
She is intelligent, she has a degree, she is quite cultured (especially when it comes to nutrition and food) and she has wonderful epithets and vocabulary that will have you running to both the English and Latin dictionary. At one point when she experiences for the first time the pain of cosmetic waxing, she exclaims *Morituri te Salutant (which means ‘We who are about to die salute you’).
This is a beautifully told story, written with a lightness of touch and with great insight into the human psyche. It is poignant, ribald and ultimately heart warming to see dear old Eleanor, aged just 30, blossoming and find her way in the world… “Social interaction, it appeared, was surprisingly expensive – the travel, the clothes, the drinks, the lunches, the gifts. I certainly got caught up in it. BUT, if as it seems Eleanor is suffering from a condition on the autism spectrum (there are various indicators in the text that indicate this) then it would be supremely unlikely that she would change in the manner described. That is the one negative.
In terms of location, the Scottish setting does come through but it is the Britishness of this novel that makes the novel feel pertinent and well observed..
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine deservedly won the Costa First Novel Book Award in 2017.
“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.”
So, one rainy Saturday, with nothing else on my 'to do list,' I decided to stay indoors, I got comfortable in my favourite armchair and tentatively commenced reading Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. My first impressions were that the writing style seemed to have a naivety about it and that the character of Eleanor was not exactly true to life. That said, I soon found myself falling under the spell of this author, and gradually accepted the premise and the characters she so tantalisingly lay there before me. Like others, I was hooked on this story and found the book difficult to put down. Loneliness is such a sad problem in today's world. It's a subject that the author was obviously keen to explore in this novel and she does an excellent job of getting across to the reader how difficult it is for some people to interact with others and to form and nurture friendships and relationships. There are dark, unpleasant themes also examined - but it's not all doom and gloom because a fair amount of humour is also to be had, which gives the novel a nice balance.
They say that the sign of a good book is one in which a character stays with you long after you have turned that very last page. Eleanor Oliphant, you will stay with me for a long time - and, as far as I'm concerned, you are completely fine......