The narrator of the novel is Eleanor Oliphant, a 29-year-old financial clerk, who in the beginning seems very peculiar and rude. She is witty and academically gifted, yet, doesn’t know what McDonald’s or Bobby Brown is. Nor does she understand the pop culture references like Los Pollos Hermanos or Top Gear. Eleanor’s completely fine life is shaken, when—one reluctant act of kindness changes her life and propels her to analyze her own life and from where her beliefs and thoughts stem from.
This book is Gail Honeyman’s debut novel, and I couldn’t believe it, because it is so beautiful, warm, and well written. I listened to this book on Scribd, and oh my god, Cathleen McCarron’s narration blew my mind.
Eleanor is oblivious to various simple things around her and her interaction with the world, had me laughing most of the times while resurfacing of her past traumas had me crying. Glimpses of her past appear and disappear through the book, revealing facets of her personality.
You can’t help but notice, that when Eleanor describes something at length, such as expenditures of having a social life :
“Was this how it worked, then, successful social integration? Was it really that simple? Wear some lipstick, go to the hairdressers and alternate the clothes you wear?”
“But, by careful observation from the sidelines, I’d worked out that social success is often built on pretending just a little. Popular people sometimes have to laugh at things they don’t find very funny, do things they don’t particularly want to, with people whose company they don’t particularly enjoy. Not me. I had decided, years ago, that if the choice was between that or flying solo, then I’d fly solo. It was safer that way.”
Or dangers about pointed heels, “She had tried to steer me towards vertiginous heels again – why are these people so incredibly keen on crippling their female customers? I began to wonder if cobblers and chiropractors had established some fiendish cartel.”
It actually makes sense—logically.
She appears strong and indifferent, but as the story unfolds, her underlying vulnerabilities, kind nature, and deep love is discovered. I loved Eleanor and Raymond’s character. I was so invested that I kept hoping that the ending shouldn’t be tragic. Eleanor personality, although, seemingly unrelatable, is devoid of superficial charm, and I think everyone can find a bit of themselves in her.
The book accurately describes loneliness, isolation, and why people who we deem weird or misfit, are made the way they are. I can’t stress enough how much I loved it and I am going to buy this book and read it again. If this book is in your TBR, I recommend you to pick it ASAP.
My rating: 5 stars
Have you read this book? What’s your thought?
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