Tuesday, November 21, 2017


Image credit: goodreads.com
Rating: 5 of 5 stars 
There are some scars on my heart, just as thick, as disfiguring as those on my face. I know they're there. I hope some undamaged tissue remains, a patch through which love can come in and flow out. I hope. ~Eleanor Oliphant (p. 74)
I have a confession. I have the most difficulty writing reviews for books I throughly enjoyed. Over the course of a good read, my feelings slowly ooze out like gel from a tube of toothpaste, and it's nearly impossible for me to organize them into succinct paragraphs that would neatly fit back in the tube. However, for Ms. Honeyman's debut novel, I will make a solid attempt. Please have patience with me.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman is a quick, warm, and funny read. I devoured it in about two days. At its core, the book is a creative illustration of the raw truthfulness of depression and the voices that can continue to haunt us. But it's not all doom and gloom, this work of fiction is about friendship, love, starting over, and recognizing that hope is a good thing - and it's within our reach.

The titular character has been described by other critics as the young, female version of Ove (from A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman). I can see the similarities in the characters as well as Britt-Marie from Backman's Britt-Marie was Here. Having said that, Eleanor Oliphant is fully-developed in her own right. She's quirky and a little socially-awkward, but over the course of this ~330-page novel, the reader learns the reasons as to why Eleanor is a bit guarded. Told in first-person narrative by Eleanor, herself, she personally reveals bit-by-bit making this novel a fictional study of social penetration theory. And by the end, her personality traits are appreciated. (Wouldn't it be lovely if we got to know real people this way too?)

Early in the book, Eleanor meets Raymond, a co-worker and the IT guy at her office. Together, through happenstance, they help an elderly man in immediate need. From there friendships develop in the most unlikely of places, and Eleanor learns how to open her heart and let others in.

This book was bittersweet in that it focused on some very real issues with which many people struggle. The ending was not a happy ending tied in a nice bow, but much like life, it was complete. I stepped away feeling satisfied, but also hoping the author might give us another book featuring Eleanor (because I kinda fell in love with her)!

Recommendation: This is one of my favorite reads this year. It's definitely in the running for A Page Before Bedtime's Book of the Year recognition. Treat yourself and take in this read over the holiday (or sooner!).

Until next time ... Read on!


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