Book Review: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

Review by Emily Fuller

30 year-old Eleanor is completely, totally, utterly fine. She attends her 9-5 office job at the same company she has worked for over 10 years. She eats her exact same meal deal everyday during her lunch break. She excitedly awaits her weekend ritual consisting of frozen pizza and two bottles of vodka. She has exactly everything in life that she deems necessary for survival – as the title suggests, Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine. Except, maybe she isn’t. Not really.

This novel was absolutely unassuming for me – here I was anticipating a light-hearted comical read that wouldn’t have evoked too much deep thinking from me. However, I was pleasantly surprised as it turned out to be an extraordinarily clever and quirky tale that weaves trauma, sadness and humour seamlessly throughout. I know it sounds bizarre, but trust me – it just works.

Despite the hilarity and poignancy of this read, the character of Eleanor is the reason why I now hold this novel so close to my heart. Within adult fiction, it’s rare to fall upon a character that is truly memorable and stays with you even after you put the book down. Well, for me, that was dear Eleanor. She is so socially inept to the point where you simply cannot determine if you’re cringing or laughing hysterically. She takes everything to the most literal degree imaginable, and yet you cannot help but find her oddly charming and endearing.

The other element of the novel in which the author seems to nail is the fact that our female heroine seeks her own path to self-discovery without the assistance of a romantic relationship. A lot of fiction novels utilise romance as a means of salvation for a crisis that a particular character may be enduring, so it’s really refreshing to read a book where the protagonist actually saves herself, drawing on her own strength and resources.

So if you are looking for a new read that will completely captivate you, then please do yourself a favour and read this book. It’s jam-packed full of emotion and wit, without being too sappy or clichéd. You’ll laugh, you may shed a tear, and above all, you will not be disappointed.

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