Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

I'm fortunate that reading comes really easily to me, I can curl up and hours fly by as I delve into a good book. But after looking at my reading journal stats from last year, I found that I stuck to the same genres and didn't really try things that were out of my comfort zone. 

Throughout 2018, I will be working with Mumsnet on their book club. Now in it's 11th year, they have covered a wonderfully diverse range of books and this year I will be blogging the books along the way. I can't wait to try things that are definitely different to my usual suspects and hope you can join along too! 

The first book of the year is Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, the award winning debut novel by Gail Honeyman. One that as a bookseller I had heard so much about, but one that I had never picked up as it was so far from my usual reads that it slightly intimidated me. I shouldn't have worried though, I read it in record time and absolutely loved every bit of it!

Eleanor Oliphant is a complex character that most people can relate to in some way. She leads a simple life, wearing the same clothes each day, heading to the same job and eating the same meal deal day in day out. Every Friday she buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink at the weekend until the routine starts again. She doesn't find socialising the easiest and she spends most of her time alone, listening to the radio or reading books.

Whilst Eleanor might look happy and content with her life on the outside, she yearns for a life that is somewhat different. One filled with romance and happiness that will give her the life that she wanted away from the watchful and judging eye of her mother. By setting her sights on a project, she finds herself being pulled sideways into a life that she never knew she could live. But is finding what you are missing really all that simple to solve?

Eleanor Oliphant was a character that has stayed with me longer than most. The heartbreak and pangs of loneliness weaved in with the uplifting notes of the supporting characters really hit home as to what humans can really be like. It turned out to be one of those perfectly balanced books that was truly unforgettable. It's one that will hit you and leave you wrecked, whilst also leave you uplifted and hopeful.

Reading about Eleanor's struggles with herself and her past can be painful at times. With good days and bad days, you never know how people are truly feeling in times of loneliness. I rooted for Eleanor and whilst I found her frustrating at times, I honestly wanted nothing but the best for her. Watching her social circle evolve and her relationships unfold was a truly magical experience.

As someone that has experienced loneliness, it was sombre to read that she went about her day sometimes without even uttering a word. That she felt like she was always on the outside and never knowing how to get inside. Whilst her social skills lacked completely, she threw herself into things that she assumed normal people would do. Which brought great hilarity and fantastic moments of comedy to the story.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is a book that is filled with courage, hope, honesty and a little kindness. It's one that is frank and brutal about the process of being a survivor and grieving your past. It's one that will stick with you for a long time. If you're going to read any book this year, make sure it's Eleanor's story. 

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