Sharing a Chair | Book Club

- Book Review: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine -

by Gail Honeyman

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Book Peak: The developing friendship between Eleanor and Raymond and the underlying theme of kindness is extremely heart warming. 

Book Pit:  That it ended! This was one of those books that really stays with you long after you've finished it. 

Favourite Quote: "There are scars on my heart, just as thick, as disfiguring as those on my face. I know they’re there. I hope some undamaged tissue remains, a patch through which love can come in and flow out. I hope."

Similar Reads: Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng, The Lido by Libby Page, Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult. 

FULL REVIEW BELOW | NO SPOILERS 

 
 

I am definitely someone who buys into the hype of a book, however this comes with a risk. Just because a book is riding high on the bestseller lists does not necessarily mean it's going to be 'just one more chapter' kind of excellent. 

But fear not. Eleanor is absolutely worthy of the hype. I may even go so far as to say that this is one of my favourite books of all time. It's that good.

I wouldn't usually go for this genre of book, so this was based purely on recommendations - it's not something I would have picked up in a local book shop (remember those?)

This is a story of loneliness, friendship and the great impact of kindness in the smallest of gestures. Whilst reading, it struck me just how surprising it was that this story hadn't yet been told. But thankfully Gail Honeyman put pen to paper and gave us Eleanor's point of view. 

If someone asks you how you are, you are meant to say FINE. You are not meant to say that you cried yourself to sleep last night because you hadn’t spoken to another person for two consecutive days. FINE is what you say.

The book covers themes such as loneliness, grief and has sparked much debate on the subject of nature vs nurture. One thing is for sure, you will grow attached to the characters - whether that's because you adore them or because you are simply intrigued. 

Personally I loved Eleanor, she took shape in my imagination in such detail I felt like I really knew her by the end of the book, and had fully invested my emotions in her and what she had gone through. The way she is socially unaware is both eccentric and endearing and yet I also found myself agreeing with her logic on many occasions. 

I loved how the author gave tiny glimpses into Eleanor's past but however desperate we were to know what had happened, it was far more important that we knew her as she was presently. The budding friendship with her colleague Raymond was the highlight of the book for me, showing that if we only pay more attention we could make those small gestures of kindness that can truly change the whole world for someone. 

It is beautifully written, giving a wonderfully raw narrative of life and all its complications. It's completely relatable in a sense that we've all known an Eleanor at some point, or perhaps in some ways we are her. The author cleverly leaves us readers thinking about our own actions it changes and challenges you.

There are days when I feel so lightly connected to the earth that the threads that tether me to the planet are gossamer thin, spun sugar. A strong gust of wind could dislodge me completely, and I’d lift off and blow away, like one of those seeds in a dandelion clock. The threads tighten slightly from Monday to Friday.

I don't see how anyone could read this book without being affected. The thread of friendship that evolves throughout the story is something of beauty and yet it is so subtle and quietly suggested. 

A book that teaches us to look inwards and question our own actions is to be commended. The story stayed with me long after I read the final paragraph and I think it will continue to echo back to me for a long time to come.

An absolute must - read!

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5/5 Rating

These days, loneliness is the new cancer – a shameful, embarrassing thing, brought upon yourself in some obscure way. A fearful, incurable thing, so horrifying that you dare not mention it; other people don’t want to hear the word spoken aloud for fear that they might too be afflicted, or that it might tempt fate into visiting a similar horror upon them.

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