Bravo Gail Honeyman. What an outstanding debut novel you've delivered. Eleanor Oliphant (Ms) may well be completely fine but the entire book was completely excellent. I'll admit I went into this book with the expectation bar set to lofty heights having seen nothing but 4 and 5 star reviews from my friends. Ms Oliphant and I got off to a slow start. I couldn't quite relate to her quirky mannerisms and overly formal, less than friendly personality. I was dreading the thought of being the outlier, having to write a luke warm review. I should not have wasted even a moment thinking those thoughts as in no time at all she had started to worm her way into my heart. This book was full of funny moments, clever observations and a story I adored. So engrossed was I that when I finished part one and saw part two was titled Bad Days I gasped out loud and said "oh no". I was devastated to think that things were to take a turn for the worse just when I'd been so happy with how things had been progressing for Eleanor. It don't want to spoil the story for other readers so am staying clear of the plot or my thoughts on how and why Eleanor is the way she is. I can't however resist commenting on Raymond. His mother was right when she described him as having a heart of gold. Not only was he accepting of Eleanor, he was the most wonderful support when she needed it most. Eleanors responses to him caused me no end of entertainment and he gave me reason to have hope for her future. I loved this piece of text as Eleanor recognises the true value of Raymond's friendship.
<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.