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Books &… Eleanor Oliphant

So, I’ve slightly upped the ante on my book reading (on the basis I barely get through a book in 6 months and it’s probably a kids book at that…) and was recommended Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman as my holiday read. The main problem is that on holiday I managed to read 24 pages. So it actually became my bedtime reading and I pretty quickly got hooked and finished it within a week, which for me is the equivalent of winning a 100m gold medal! It’s the debut novel of Gail Honeyman and it’s a dream. Now Janet has also read this one so we’ll see what she has to contribute below but for me it was easy reading in the sense it was a page-turner. The content was a bit uncomfortable at times, without wanting to give too much away, Eleanor Oliphant is one of life’s loners, probably one of the people we all judge from afar, and actually what this book does it challenges all of that judging a book by its cover and you, well I certainly did, have a soft spot for Eleanor almost immediately. The use of language is addictive in this book; Eleanor’s diction was for me quite captivating. It takes you on a journey with her which has quite stressful moments but you are pretty much gunning for Eleanor from the start. There’s a pretty big twist, which I’m honest I didn’t see coming, and the main thing I still need to do is to google what the hell a ‘jerkin’ is, all I have managed to surmise from the novel is it’s a coat/jacket type garment?? It has big thumbs up from me; it reopened the gates of reading something other people are actually talking about to this tired mama. It’ll be interesting to see what Janet has to say……

So, I said to myself I won’t read what Lou has to say before I write… that resolution lasted five seconds. I agree with so much of what Lou has said, it did become a page-turner, I did read it swiftly (with more time on my hands – and I know this isn’t a competition – I read it one rainy Sunday afternoon) and yes it is a dream. But where Lou viewed Eleanor from afar, for me there was so much that I could to relate to and empathise with – even if perhaps her loneliness was as Olivia Lang* is quoted at the start ‘from a state of loss or exile or prejudice’ and I simply feel that point of difference, or as someone living away from family and friends I feel the ‘perpetuating’ nature of loneliness.

There is so much humour and lightness alongside the darkness, one of my favourite scenes is the visit to the department store for the “Deluxe Pamper Manicure” – both funny and almost painful, for me it really touched a nerve as ‘the gilded confines of the beauty hall’ are not ‘my preferred habitat’ either.

Wonderful characters really make this book, along with the (also for me) unexpected twist in the story. I turned to Gail Honeyman’s photo throughout the read, wondering how on earth does someone write a book like this the first time around….?

*Olivia Lang’s book The Lonely City has been on my bookshelf for ages, but I still haven’t managed to read it yet. I might pack it for my next trip to New York – which hasn’t been booked yet but is never too far away. I have read her book The Trip to Echo Spring which, as a rare step into non-fiction for me, I really enjoyed.

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