I’m back! With another review! This time, a novel by Gail Honeyman. What a fantastic book. I don’t even want to keep you in suspense as to whether I enjoyed or disliked this book. I loved it. I loved the pace, I loved the narrator, I loved the story line and I loved the side characters/plots present around the central arc. There is a reason there is so much hype around this book and it’s all completely justified. Whenever there is a big buzz around a book I always want to be a part of it and feel like I understand why so many people love it, and I do, I completely do. It’s heart-warming, heart-wrenching, feel-good, feel-sad, all at the same time.
So the book itself is about a woman called Eleanor Oliphant. She works in an office job, with a very specific routine. It’s a very lonely life, the one she leads. But she doesn’t mind it. She finds it comforting, and safe. You learn very quickly that she doesn’t really have any friends and the only person she keeps in contact with is her mother, currently in jail. The book battles: mental health, family history, anxiety, insecurities, alcoholic dependancy, infatuation vs. love, and the power a mind has on a person.
If this sounds like your cup of tea, I highly recommend it!
Disclaimer: I’m going to get into a further review after this point so, if you haven’t read it, and don’t want to be spoiled, please go grab a copy and come back and join me with your opinions and thoughts!
What can I say about Eleanor? I loved her, I wanted to peel her off the page and wrap her up in a blanket and make her a warm cup of tea and be a friend to her. The effect of her childhood is so evident on her character that is almost makes you want to rip you hair out at some point to just stop some of her thoughts. She never compliments herself (be it her appearance or accomplishments) mainly due to her mother having drilled it in her head that she isn’t worthy of feeling good about herself. Her obsession with the musician, is one that I, to an extent, understand. You see someone that is beautiful (a celebrity for example) and you imagine all the possibilities. What your meet-cute would be like. How your relationship would develop. All the romantic moments you would share together. But, at some point, you come to the realisation it is just a fantasy and you don’t really know them. I remember following celebrity crushes I had and wondering if they would ever notice me. But, keep in mind, this was when I was 12/13. In this respect, Eleanor does have a very young mind. She doesn’t process some situations, like relationships, at a mature level, because she never had the experience. So her obsession with the artist grows, almost like a young teenager with a crush.
Another thing I found fascinating was, she was a broken character, covering all her pain and hurt with alcohol and a wall so nobody could hurt her. Yet at the end of the day, she ended up seeing a therapist. Not because a knight in shining armour came and rescued her. She made a friend, who supported and took care of her, and took advice from him to seek out help. She saved herself. The pace of her recovery was very well done. She discovered things in her own time and gradually allowed herself to face the truth.
But can I even do a review on this book without mentioning the side characters? I loved Raymond and Samuel. Their friendship and acceptance of Eleanor is so warm-hearted and kind and I love each and every scene with them all present. Her social skills, though they be lacking, are beautiful to read, especially with all her experiences with the waxing and nail salon.
100% I could not recommend this book more. The twist at the end and the hint of a hopeful ending for Eleanor was all I needed to feel complete and happy about this book. It wasn’t overly-done, wrapped up neatly or a “happily-ever after,” because that’s not real life. And it just made me love this book even more.
Language/Style: 9 points
Story: 9 points
Plot: 9 points
Characters: 10 points
Total: 37/40 points
Favourite Quote: “There are 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.”