Monday, February 11, 2019

Audio Book Review: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Pages: 327
Genre: Adult Fiction
Pub. Date: May 19, 2017
Publisher: Paula Dorman Books
Source: Personal Copy/Audio Book
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says,"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.  Soon to be a major motion picture produced by Reese Witherspoon, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is the smart, warm, and uplifting 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."

Eleanor Oliphant keeps to herself at work and doesn't have any friends.   Then she heads home to her solitary night filled with pizza, alcohol and phone calls with her mother. She keeps to herself in all facets of her life and that's ok for her.  Her life changes though when Raymond from the IT department tries to befriend her and they help save an elderly man together.  Slowly Eleanor opens up.  She even has a crush on a local musician, but we know that isn't going to go far.  But she's branching out and slowly readers find out why Eleanor acts the way she does and more about her upsetting childhood.  Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is a quirky sort of novel that had me laughing out loud one minute and cringing the next at Eleanor's social awkwardness.  It's an emotional story with a lot of heart.

At first, Eleanor and I did not vibe at all in Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. She was interesting in a quirky sort of way, but she was just painful to listen to as she is so very socially awkward and way too honest to a fault.  Her observations were usually spot on, but I would think to myself, "oh my god, did she just say that?"  Her relationship with her mother was just horrific and I cringed during their daily phone calls. What a horrible woman her mother is! I slowly I started to understand why Eleanor may have built up these walls around herself like a fortress.

I thought the audio book's narrator, Cathleen McCarron, did a great job bringing strange Eleanor to life and really captured her quirky side as well as the dry humor.  Her British accent was soothing and McCarron's tone really worked for this type of novel. I also appreciated the different voices she used for various characters.

Why I didn't rate Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine a bit higher is because despite the fact that it was well-written, I was taken back by how dark the undertones of the story are.  I didn't expect it to be so thoroughly depressing and while I was rooting for Eleanor to overcome some of the horrible things in her life, I couldn't help but find this book to be a bit too sad even considering the ending. So, be prepared! You have to be in the mood for this type of story.  

If you are looking for an unconventional heroine that you can't help but love, check out Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine.  While I expected a little bit more from such a hyped novel, I did enjoy her journey and I'm glad I read it before it is Reese Witherspoon's company makes it into a movie. Did you read it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. 


  1. Great review! I’m still on a waitlist for this book. I read a lot of depressing books, so I might like it more than you did.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

    1. Thanks, AJ! I hope you enjoy it. It was, surprisingly, very funny! Thanks for visiting.

  2. I feel like I've seen this book everywhere and never knew what it was about. I like quirky characters, and thank you for the heads-up about the sometimes-depressing tone!

    1. Yes, absolutely! I can see why it will be made into a movie, but I was surprised by how depressing it was despite a more upbeat ending. Thanks for visiting, Angela.


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