Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine (Honeyman)

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine 
Gail Honeyman, 2017
Penguin Publishing
336 pp.
ISBN-13: 9780735220683

No one’s ever told Eleanor that life should be better than fine.

Meet Eleanor Oliphant: She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy.

But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office.

When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become the kinds of friends who rescue one another from the lives of isolation they have each been living. And it is Raymond’s big heart that will ultimately help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one.

Smart, warm, uplifting, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is the story of an out-of-the-ordinary heroine whose deadpan weirdness and unconscious wit make for an irresistible journey as she realizes.

The only way to survive is to open your heart. (From the publisher.)

Author Bio
Birth—ca. 1971
Where—central Scotland, Uk
Education—University of Glasgow; Oxford University
Currently—lives in Glasgow

Gail Honeyman was raised in central Scotland and as a child could be found in the library, she says, "a ridiculous number of times a week." Now in her 40s and author of a big-buzz book, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, Honeyman still finds herself in the library quite but is much happier to be there.

Honeyman studied French at Glasgow University and did postgraduate studies at Oxford. Deciding against pursuing her Ph.D., she ended up in working in university administration for a number of years. After a good number of years, the writing bug bit, and she enrolled in writing classes at Britain's well-known Faber Academy.

When not at her day job, Honeyman wrote—mornings, nights and weekends—all of which paid off handsomely. She entered and won competitions, and in 2015, her book was in the object of an eight-way tug of war among publishers. It was the talk of the town at that year's Frankfurt Book Fair and earned Honeyman a seven figure advance.

For anyone curious about how it feels to publish a first novel at 45, here's what Honeyman says:

It’s one of those jobs where the more life experience you have, the better—so it’s absolutely not a handicap to be older.… A bit of perspective and life experience isn’t a bad thing. Anyway, if you start a new career at 40, you’ve still got another 35 years to go.

(Author bio adapted from an article in The Guardian.)

Book Reviews
[E]xquisite, heartbreaking, funny, and irresistible…. Surprises abound as the author boldly turns literary expectations upside down and gives to her readers Eleanor Oliphant, who, yes, is completely, beautifully fine.  —Beth Andersen, formerly with Ann Arbor Dist. Lib., MI
Library Journal

(Starred review.) Move over, Ove…. Witty, charming, and heartwarming, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is a remarkable debut about a singular woman. Readers will cheer Eleanor as she confronts her dark past and turns to a brighter future. Feel good without feeling smarmy.

A very funny novel…. At 29, Eleanor Oliphant has built an utterly solitary life that almost works.… [But] it turns out that shell was serving a purpose.… Honeyman's endearing debut is part comic novel, part emotional thriller, and part love story.
Kirkus Reviews

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