Audiobook Review

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine

By
Gail Honeyman
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Performance
Overall
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Excellent, Unforgettable, Best of the nest

Very good, thoroughly enjoyed, 

Good, Solid, Enjoyed many aspects

STAR RATINGS GUIDE

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Charming

THE BIRDICT

I've split this review into two parts to avoid spoilers. It's very much a book of two halves, both of them incredible, but the second sinister and dark.

Part 1

💜 Watching Eleanor piece together the puzzle of social interactions and flourishing breathed joy into my deadened soul. Each one of her observations displayed a mix of child-like innocence, experience and a literal outlook.

💚 This book is Oscar Wilde level quotable. Seriously, every other line is genius distilled into words. Everything from "I do exist, don't I?' to:

“Was this how it worked, then, successful social integration? Was it really that simple? Wear some lipstick, go to the hairdressers and alternate the clothes you wear?”

🧡 Beyond Eleanor, there are so many brilliant, eclectic, quirky characters. To me, they represented the big impact of small gestures. The shop assistant who goes above and beyond, Raymond's mother and her intrinsic goodness and Sam's indefatigable cheer. It shows the very best of humanity and what love means.

❤️️ Having had extensive experience with those on the autism spectrum, Eleanor was so familiar. I was surprised to learn that Honeyman didn't imagine her as autistic.

💛 This has distinct echoes of The Rosie Project and A Man Called Ove, both of which I recommend if you enjoy this.

SQUAWKING THE TALK

🎧 Eleanor Oliphant is a subtle, complex character. It would be so easy to play her as flat, monotone, but award winning narrator Cathleen McCarron flexes her vocal chords to do her justice. Her characterisation of Eleanor is matter-of-fact yet curious and innocent. Even in her more defensive or judgemental moments, her goodness shines through.

🎧 By contrast, the voice of Mummy is magnificently despicable, not to mention chilling. And Eleanor's vulnerability comes through in her interactions with her.

BIRDS OF A FEATHER: SIMILAR AUDIOBOOKS

If you only read this first sentence, trigger warning for abuse. We're about to get a little bit Fight Club, a little bit Little Fires Everywhere.

Honeyman treads a delicate line between the horrific and the uplifting, allowing for the latter to prevail. What's more, she lands her shocking reveals with a bang. Yes, there are breadcrumbs hinting at some traumatic event in Eleanor's past, but not the handbrake turns of Mummy or Marianne. Cathleen McCarron is awesome as the spectacularly vile Mummy, to the point of chills and goosebumps.

By contrast, Raymond is the embodiment of human kindness and Eleanor's introduction to friendship. I loved the purity of her discovery of loyalty and love. It's this that outshines the horror.
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Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine

THE BLURB

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.

Then 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.