I really liked this book. But here’s the thing: I wasn’t sure about Eleanor Oliphant in the first few chapters. Some of her judgments and observations seemed harsh and unfair. If you were like me and thought this way, I challenge you to keep reading.
Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine. She works her office job during the week and treats herself to pizza and vodka Friday night and through the weekend. Her mummy calls her once a week to berate her on her current shortcomings.
“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.”
Eleanor meets Raymond, a bumbling, awkward and borderline unhygenic IT guy from her office. Begrudgingly, she befriends him and saves an elderly man who fell in the street.
“I realized that such small gestures- the way his mother had made me a cup of tea after our meal without asking, remembering that I didn’t take sugar, the way Laura had placed two little biscuits on the saucer when she brought me coffee in the salon- such things meant so much.”
Eleanor begins to soften much over the course of the novel, which is a good thing. Her mother raised her to be judgmental and cold to others, polite but withholding, so it takes her time to unlearn bad habits.
Eleanor Oliphant is a character that will leave a distinct impression on you. She’s very memorable and sympathetic while also being quite humorous. There were several times that I literally laughed out loud due to Eleanor’ s hilarious observations and witticisms. I will leave you with these last two excerpts. Please read this book. You won’t regret it. If you love dry humor, quirky characters, novels with a lot of heart and character development, you will love this novel. I know I did.
“I suppose one of the reasons we’re all able to continue to exist for our allotted span in this green and blue vale of tears is that there is always, however remote it may seem, the possibility of change.”
“I felt the heat where his hand had been; it was only a moment, but it left a warm imprint, almost as though it might be visible. A human hand was exactly the right weight, exactly the right temperature for touching another person, I realized.”