Welcome to book club everyone! How good is it to be back in the reading zone?
This week, I’ll be reviewing the truly magnificent book – Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Scottish author Gail Honeyman – with my very smart editor friend Jules Collard.
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is Gail Honeyman’s debut novel which is truly incredible. Released in 2017, it has warmed the hearts of so many around the world including Alex and Jules who both absolutely adored it.
Eleanor Oliphant is a 30 year old single lady who could be described as eccentric or even a little odd. She has a simple, planned life and she believes she is completely fine (but she’s not!). Eleanor is a strong, independent woman who has experienced a whack of trauma. The book is about the healing power of kindness and follows the journey of Eleanor from surviving her highly regulated life to living and enjoying real human interaction.
In 2017, it won Costa’s First Novel Award – which is a big deal – and also the British Book Awards Book of the Year. It was also a Sunday Times Best Seller in the UK and also a New York Times Best Seller. And within hours of its release, Reese Witherspoon snapped up the option to make it into a film – so watch this space!
About Gail Honeyman
This is Honeyman’s debut novel and she lives in Glasgow, Scotland. Honeyman doesn’t share much about her life, and describes it ‘very ordinary’. She studied French language and literature at Glasgow University and then set off for a postgraduate degree at Oxford with the aim of being an academic, but later decided that the scholarly life wasn’t for her.
After returning to Scotland, she worked in economic development and then as an administrator at the university where she had once studied. She’d always had dreams of becoming a writer but it was her impending 40th birthday that helped her make the decision to ‘go for it’. When Eleanor’s voice began to speak to her, she captured it in three chapters, which she submitted to a competition for unpublished fiction by female writers run by Cambridge’s Lucy Cavendish College. Though she didn’t win, one of the judges was a literary agent who liked it enough to sign her up. Honeyman then joined a writing group. She began writing in the evenings and in her lunch breaks and the rest is history.
Honeyman was inspired to write the book after reading a newspaper article about loneliness and a young professional woman who wouldn’t speak to another human all weekend from leaving the office on Friday afternoon till Monday morning. She wanted to talk about loneliness in the context of younger people as she believes most of the conversations around loneliness were focused on the elderly.
Alex and Jules thoroughly enjoyed the book and fell in love with Eleanor. The girls loved the humour, in particular Gail Honeyman’s incredible comedic timing, the wonderfully developed characters and of course the message of the power of small acts of kindness.
Jules was very happy with the ending however Alex would have liked a little more clarity on the main relationship at the end. But both ladies think everyone needs to read this book and it is a perfect read for this time – a reminder of the power and transformational ability of kindness.
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