Eleanor Oliphant leads a simply 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 have seen several recommendations for this book over the past few months. I have considered buying it multiple times, reading the blurb over and over again, but each time that vague idea of ‘having too many books’ has just about stopped me from giving in. Until Tuesday when it came up in an article I was reading, and yet another person is recommending it to me. “I really do need to get that book” I think to myself on my way to Fyne Court, a national trust place up in the Quantocks to meet a friend. As we were wondering around, we found ‘The Snug’ .
There it was, tucked in amongst boxes and boxes of other books, and it was mine. It is obviously pre-loved, with the odd crinkle and stain, but nothing that detracted from the intensity of the story.
It is absolutely an intense story – by five pages in I was hooked. I sent my friend Katie regular updates on how the book was going, needing to share with somebody the suspense that was building inside me as I got further and further into the plot. My Other Half also got regular updates, and Katie is now honour bound to read the book herself when I take it to her house later this month. This is a book that needs to be shared and read widely.
Shortly after starting the book I was absolutely convinced that some sort of horrendous showdown was imminent – When Eleanor starts down her initial path I raised my eyebrows, sucked in my breath and muttered ‘oh no…..’. She begins the story as a very unlikeable character, both judgmental and at times outright anti-social. But as the book progresses context and character development remind the reader that perhaps we are the judgmental ones, and that kindness is a far more important part in our day to day lives than most of us appreciate.
That was one of the key take-aways that I had from this book – the effect that other people can have on our own wellbeing, and also how we need to take control of our own destinies in order to live the lives that we want for ourselves. I was delighted with this book, and thoroughly enjoyed the journey that Gail Honeyman takes the author on. I was surprised, appalled, intrigued, overjoyed and mystified at varying points in the plot and utterly absorbed in the story. I strongly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys the above.
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