No one's ever told Eleanor that life should be better than fine.
Meet Eleanor Oliphant: She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she's thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy.
But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become the kinds of friends who rescue one another from the lives of isolation they have each been living. And it is Raymond's big heart that will ultimately help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one.
Smart, warm, uplifting, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is the story of an out-of-the-ordinary heroine whose deadpan weirdness and unconscious wit make for an irresistible journey as she realizes...
The only way to survive is to open your heart.
I wasn't sure about this book at first. Started a bit slow for me. However, it turned out to be completely engaging. You find yourself rooting for Eleanor, laughing at her faux pas and being completely enamored with her. I found myself tearing up more than once during this story. This is a wonderful story of how a person with a difficult past can evolve, grow and become who they are truly meant to be. Raymond is a solid character who guides Eleanor on her path to being who she has always wanted and needed to be. This is an absolutely excellent book. I listen to my audio books while commuting and found myself not wanting to get out of the car on several occasions.
55 of 55 people found this review helpful
The publisher gives a great summary. Most of the other reviewers concur with my judgment that this is a must-read story that you just won't ever forget. Truly delightful but with a big dab of the bittersweet. Yes, it has some tough emotional moments but that is what makes it multi-dimensional and wonderful.
Who is Eleanor Oliphant? She keeps to herself, preferring her own company in all situations. She is prim and proper, has strong beliefs about good manners and such. She dresses a bit oddly, probably looks like your dowdy old aunt, but is in fact, a young lady. Eleanor has experienced very little of life, at least, its good parts. Her childhood has been very dark and she is still dominated by Mommy, whom she talks with every week. Eleanor is very intelligent yet could be described as a self-contained island.
But things are about to change, starting with a bikini wax--OUCH! And more importantly, an IT guy with sloppy clothing and even poorer hygiene, who somehow worms his way into Eleanor's life after they both observe an elderly gentleman fall and injure himself on the sidewalk by work. The two come to his rescue--Eleanor would have ignored the incident but is guilted into becoming involved by co-worker, Raymond.
That is really all you need to know about this audiobook. It is best to go into this story with as little information as possible and enjoy it as the surprises unfold.
After a slowish start, I became mesmerized and couldn't get the story out of my head. I didn't want to stop listening and yet I didn't want to finish it, either.
Narration was perfection. How lucky for author Honeyman to get such a talented performer as McCarron to read her first novel.
This is one of the good ones, folks. Don't miss it!
69 of 71 people found this review helpful
This story is extremely dark. It is a lurking, creeping kind of dark. It is excellently written and narrated, don't get me wrong, but if I had known how hard it was, I'd have opted for a different title. I have enough hard in my own life right now, this about set me over the edge. Just a warning for other sensitive souls out there.
297 of 313 people found this review helpful
I admit to struggling with this book at the beginning - - Eleanor just felt like such a bitter pill to swallow, but brilliantly, and I mean BRILLIANTLY, the author snuck her right into my heart. Aided by one of the best narrators ever, that slow build into caring meant that by the time all of Eleanor is revealed I was so tied into her life that when the book ended I felt like I was waving goodbye to a family member. Now that's good writing, and this is an amazing book. Please don't be like me and dismiss it too quickly. By the end you and Eleanor will both be fine.
81 of 85 people found this review helpful
What about Cathleen McCarron’s performance did you like?
Cathleen McCarron did an excellent job with the narration. The only thing I would criticize was the Scottish accent she gave to Eleanor's coworkers in the beginning of the book. It was so affected that I could barely follow the conversation and it almost put me off reading the rest for fear I wouldn't be able to understand the accents. Luckily, that was just a tiny moment of the book and the narration for the rest was wonderful.
Any additional comments?
I was so pleasantly surprised by this book! I often find that literature that is set in the present time and culturally relevant at the time of its publication has a way of feeling fleeting and immediately stale. This was most certainly not the case here! Though it interspersed a few occasional pop culture and modern societal references, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is a book that could survive the test of time. The main reason, I think, is that it is not a story of the present; it is a story that simply happens to be set in the present. Eleanor Oliphant is really a story of human nature and emotion.
Eleanor is a phenomenal character. I was invested in learning more about her from the very beginning. I didn't initially know what to expect of Eleanor's character and my first thoughts were that the book would end up being a story about some kind of sociopath. Eleanor does possess some characteristics that fit the bill. However, as the story went on I went from being morbidly interested to falling in love with her as a character. Her development was, in my opinion, flawless.
Eleanor's journey is beautifully illustrated. It is an emotional journey for the reader as well. We follow her from a life of mundane mere-existence, to one of delusion - in which she would like to live, but does not yet have the courage - and in which the meager beginnings of a real life are hardly noticed by her. And then, slowly, she begins to try living somewhere in the middle of that, before reality strikes and she falls from the top of the small hill she has scaled, down far past where she started, to complete rock bottom. And in the end we get to watch her discover joy and blossom in every aspect of life. And as a reader, I was rooting for her every step of the way and willing her to make it through.
The way that Eleanor's demons and struggles and inadequacies slowly come to light is nothing short of brilliant. Although the entirety of Eleanor's traumatic past is never revealed until the final few pages, bits and pieces are masterfully woven into the story - subtly, with hints and small details here and there, just enough so that we are able to put it together but have not been patronized with overtness. And this works so perfectly because when Eleanor's story finally comes out, we are simply letting out our breath - not for assuaged curiosity, for we already know - but because we have been holding it for Eleanor and realize what that revelation means to her and for her. And that is what is so perfect about it. The ending was about Eleanor - just Eleanor - and her ultimate healing after an unbelievable journey.
This was a beautiful story about brokenness, coping (and lack thereof), growing, and becoming whole again, or for the first time. Eleanor's journey included learning some of what most would consider the fundamentals of what it means to be human - to be loved, and to love in return. To follow her journey was so greatly rewarding and an uplifting reminder of what we can overcome as people - particularly in regards to the past. Five stars!!
11 of 11 people found this review helpful
The narrator was perfectly suited to this wonderfully written book. We all know an odd duck like Eleanor Oliphant, but we often don't consider what kind of life leads to the way they are. This story is very funny a lot of the time, but there is a darkness creeping around the edges. Brilliantly narrated--would love to see this made into a movie.
58 of 62 people found this review helpful
I LOVED this book! I loved the characters, particularly Eleanor, and gentle Raymond. Made me cry and laugh. Didn't want it to end....
17 of 18 people found this review helpful
Would you consider the audio edition of Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine to be better than the print version?
I didn't read this book, I just listened to it. I thought the reader was fantastic, and I absolutely loved each character's voice...the reading added so much to the story!
Who was your favorite character and why?
You have to like Eleanor to like the story, and this is tough to do at first. She is very prickly and odd, and I almost gave up on this book because it took my 3 half-hour car rides to get into it enough to start to care. Once that happened, I was totally hooked. Her character reminded me of the lead character in "The Rosie Effect" and that ultimately helped endear her to me. The most likable character is definitely her friend who helps her start to reach out to people...he is totally engaging and the perfect foil for her rigidity.
Which character – as performed by Cathleen McCarron – was your favorite?
Eleanor is so interesting, but Raymond is the heart of the story who actually draws the reader in. I loved him, and the reader did his voice perfectly. She is a wonderful reader!
Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
I was VERY surprised by the big finish...did not see that coming! I loved this story...I did cry as she starts to come to grips with her life.
Any additional comments?
If you start this book, hang in there...don't give up! Eleanor is SO interesting and her growth is so unique and wonderful. It is slow, tho...read it only if you like character study novels! And don't give up on Eleanor...she is worth your time!
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
Stories like this don't come around that often . Everything about it is beautiful . The personalities, the storyline , the relationships, and of course impeccable narration. Unpredictable down to the last minute. Don't miss this sweet, emotional, and extremely well written book!
32 of 36 people found this review helpful
This is my new "stop everyone and tell them to listen to it" item. . . McCarron does a lovely job with the nuances of accents, and Honeyman's story is heartwarming, painful, funny, and just understated enough to carry it all off. I just finished listening to this on Wednesday, and I'm considering listening to it again today--Saturday! The gradual development of Eleanor's world and world-view is deft and realistic. The story reminded me of a Fredrik Backman novel, but with a bit more depth of character. As I said before: you should listen to this one. It's a treat.
29 of 34 people found this review helpful