At thirty, Eleanor Oliphant lives a quiet and scheduled life, works in the back office of an office, and prefers weekdays—excluding Wednesday evenings when she has to listen to her mother talk—to weekends which she passes with pizza, a bottle of wine and two bottles of Vodka. Eleanor has no friends and her work colleagues only tolerate her but she’s fine; she doesn’t need anyone. Then out of the blue she falls in love and her mission becomes to make the man of her dreams notice her.
There’s another interruption to her routines when unhygienic IT man Raymond from work and Eleanor happen to see a man fall over in the street and are forced to come to his rescue.
This story about a socially inept woman—who seem to be on the spectrum—her discovery tour towards love, friendship, belonging, and breaking free is a blend of sad and funny. The first half of the book was better than the second and in all honesty the theme of loneliness hits home well but dealing with the underlying tragedy that has produced Eleanor is a surface scratch. I found Eleanor’s lack of self-pity and literal frankness endearing.
Honeyman’s debut novel won a Costa award when published in 2017 and was short listed for ABIA the following year. Have you read it? Did you like it? I will read Gail Honeyman’s next book.