What’s it about?
Eleanor Oliphant has learned how to survive – but not how to live.
Eleanor Oliphant leads a simple 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 life. Except, sometimes, everything.
One simple act of kindness is about to shatter the walls Eleanor has built around herself. Now she must learn how to navigate the world that everyone else seems to take for granted – while searching for the courage to face the dark corners she’s avoided all her life.
Change can be good. Change can be bad. But surely any change is better than… fine?
I chose this book for our May book club read and I was aware that around the blogoshere it had been considered a ‘Marmite’ book. Well I sit firmly in the love it camp.
The book appealed to me as the blurb bills Eleanor as a creature of habit, as am I. I walk the same route to work each day, see the same people, shop in the same places all of which Eleanor does too so I really bonded with her and sympathised with her situation.
From the outset Eleanor reminded me of Don Tillman from The Rosie Project. She has no filter from her brain to her mouth which was funny…although I wasn’t sure if it was meant to be which did make me feel awkward at laughing at it. With her jerkin(?) and her shopper she really touched a place in my heart (which doesn’t happen that often..) to the point where I almost shed a tear when I was reading in a coffee shop and it wasn’t even the saddest scene in the book!
What I took from this book is what it is to be lonely and how this affects us. Loneliness is considered to be something that only affects the elderly but it can affect people of any age and this is what we see with Eleanor. There are some real sad and poignant moments that were quite heartbreaking.
The only negative point that was raised in our book club meeting was that Eleanor started to conform to what society deems acceptable in order for her colleagues to interact with her rather than bully her. I personally didn’t see this a problem, because I felt like she wanted to experiment and see if she liked herself with a difference.
Overall it was somewhat predictable (apart from…well you’ll have to read it to find out) but I didn’t mind that and, unusually for me, I liked that the ending wasn’t 100% totally wrapped up all neat and tidy.
Small print for info
No of pages: 400
Publisher: Harper Collins