Eleanor Oliphant lives her life according to a very regimented schedule that consists of public transportation, crossword puzzles and meals for one. She is the butt of workplace jokes and celebrates Friday nights with “a margherita pizza, some Chianti and two big bottles of Glen’s vodka.”
Then she meets Raymond in IT.
When Eleanor and Raymond come to the aid of an old man in a tomato-red sweater who collapses on the sidewalk, Eleanor is forced out of her tightly structured routine and into a world of adventure, friendship and healing.
But Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine isn’t your average romantic comedy because Eleanor is a complex character with a dark past. What first appears to be Asperger’s-esque eccentricity turns out to be a kind of survival instinct, formed in response to a terrible childhood secret.
With a light touch and lacerating prose, Gail Honeyman reminds us to be kind for everyone we meet is fighting a hard battle. “There was no one in the world more alone than me.” Every sweet and charming moment has a somber undercurrent: “I felt the heat where his hand had been … I’d shaken hands a fair bit over the years—more so recently—but I hadn’t been touched in a lifetime.”
The mystery surrounding the past combined with the redemption story in the present makes for a very satisfying read. And Eleanor Oliphant is a character you won't soon forget.
Best paired with sausage rolls, cool clear vodka and chocolate pudding for broken hearts.