Happy Easter to all those that celebrate! We hope your day was full of reading, sunshine and rest!
For April’s review theme, it was ‘Editor’s Picks’, a chance for me to pick and review a novel that has been on my to-read list. And for this month, I decided to review Gail Honeyman’s 2017 debut novel ‘Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine’ after hearing about its immense popularity and readership.
Since its publication in 2017, Honeyman’s ‘Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine’ has received rave critical and audience reviews and has been discussed and reviewed by a huge range of book and lifestyle bloggers alike. Just the other day in my local library I overheard a woman requesting a copy of the novel to be delivered only for the librarian to respond that she would be added onto a list of FOURTEEN requests before it’d be her turn to take out a copy! But is the novel worth waiting for?
Honeyman’s novel is touching and disturbing all at the same time. The what-may-seem-to-be heartwarming story line can not only be read as a simple adult fiction story but as a possible social commentary on British foster and social care systems as well as an evaluation on our attitudes towards the ‘outsiders’ of the world. The novel can also be included as part of the huge rising literary movement that has begun to respond to attitudes towards mental health issues and attitudes. ‘Eleanor Oliphant’ is thus not only a text to be enjoyed and discussed, but a text to analyse and think about.
Honeyman’s writing style captures Eleanor’s aloof perspective perfectly. Her use of language, comedy and action creates a captivating portrayal of a woman struggling to be noticed in a society whose habits and expectations are alien to her.
It would be wrong to think that this story is lighthearted, but the darker subject matters of the novel such as suicide, abuse, stalker-mentality and mental illness are written respectfully and tactfully. Honeyman should be praised for touching on such subjects so diligently.
I also enjoyed how the novel was devised. Yes, the ending was somewhat predictable (in the way that all adult general fiction novels are), however I found it enthralling to read a novel which does not feature romance or infatuation so heavily within its story line, particularly in a novel that focuses on a female protagonist.
And Eleanor Oliphant’s character is perfectly created. She is the anti-Mary Poppins, practically imperfect in every way. She disgusts, she humours, she elicits sympathy but most of all she surprises. Her character development is finely done; Honeyman ensures the reader of Eleanor’s personal abnormalities so often that we are left looking for them within our own person.
If you can get your hands on a copy, ‘Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine’ is a novel that delights, repulses and lingers in the mine even weeks past the final page.
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