Eleanor Oliphant leads a simple life. She wears the same clothes to work every day, eats the same meal deal for lunch every day and buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink everY weekend.
Eleanor Oliphant is happy. Nothing is missing from her carefully timetabled existence. Except, sometimes, everything…
I had no idea about what to expect from Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine. I knew the book made a lot of waves when it was published, but it didn’t exactly seem to be my cup of tea. I didn’t dislike it, I didn’t love it either, but I must admit that I’ve finished it way faster than I thought I would.
I feel like the author was indecisive and constantly oscillated between making Eleanor extra weird and making her very likeable in the same time. There’s a bit of trying too much in both directions, especially since the traits that he’s given her are quite opposite and tend to repel each other. There are also things that are so, so obviously not matching or making sense. For example, how Eleanor is such an avid reader, choosing not only fiction, but also completely random topics (like management, law or… pineapples), but she is so utterly clueless about simple things like social rules, internet, music, etc. This was especially more disturbing after I read that the author declared that no, Eleanor is not on the spectrum (which might have explained better a lot of her strange behaviours), but only suffering from depression. I did enjoy the narrative most of the time, but these disparities kept bugging me every now and then.
Overall, the storyline grows warmer and warmer as you read. It was lovely to witness such an array of lovely secondary characters, to see how encouraging and supportive they were and how Eleanor’s relationships evolved in time in such an optimistic and positive way.
I’ve read enough psychological thrillers in order not to be surprised by the twist at the end of the book. I’m not completely sure if it was intended as a bombshell, but I didn’t think it came much as a surprise. Despite that, it wasn’t disappointing at all. On the contrary, it felt more like a rational and consistent ending. Also, in line with that, I should mention that I loved the fact that the author chose not to turn the story into a romantic one. There are hints here and there, but I was happy to see an open ending and nothing clearly defined when it comes to Eleanor’s love life. This way, the story grows even more into one of personal healing on all plans, without focusing on love as the only solution for all the problems.