I love a good, quirky character, and tore through Gail Honeyman’s “Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine.” I loved Eleanor from when she first contemplated a makeover, after falling desperately in love with a musician whom she’d never met, and thought: “If I’m ever unsure as to the correct course of action, I’ll think ‘What would a ferret do?’ or, ‘How would a salamander respond to this situation?’ Invariably, I find the right answer.”
Eleanor’s routines become interrupted when she and a coworker happen to see a man collapse on the sidewalk and, against Eleanor’s better judgment, they help the man and she ends up befriending both the man and, more importantly, her coworker.
This book gets dark as Eleanor delves into her relationship with her “Mummy,” but the dark stuff is balanced out by Eleanor’s observations and the way she relates to the world (I love how she reacts to death metal or her casual observations about her coworkers’ conversational abilities). I saw that a lot of people who enjoyed “Where’d You Go, Bernadette” enjoyed Eleanor, and I would guess that Semple’s book served as an influence on Honeyman (Eleanor has a coworker named Bernadette, while a counselor is named Maria Temple). If I had any complaints about the book, it’s that Eleanor is almost too naïve at points, but overall I loved this book: I laughed, cried and didn’t want it to end.