Five Things I loved about Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

This much-loved book has been written about so many times, and I’m so late to this particular party, that I have decided to do a slightly different post to my usual reviews. Before I begin, I would add my voice to all the others and say – read this. It is funny, terribly sad, and brilliantly done.  And so now, in no particular order, here are my five favourite things about this novel, whittled down from a much longer list.

  1. Eleanor’s sense of humour: In the early stages of the novel, some of Eleanor’s humour is inadvertent, a result of her saying whatever is in her head. She sees little point, with quite some justification it must be said, in not being brutally honest. But even at the beginning we see why people like Raymond will befriend her and stick around. She has a mischievous side to her, even before she’s ready to admit it:

‘My phone doesn’t ring often – it makes me jump when it does – and it’s usually people asking if I’ve been mis-sold Payment Protection Insurance. I whisper I know where you live to them, and hang up the phone very, very gently.’

2. Raymond’s lovely mother and Sammy: These are two strangers who welcome Eleanor into their lives and allow her to witness happy family set-ups. Sammy’s accident throws Raymond and Eleanor together, and is the start of many changes in Eleanor’s life. Raymond’s mother is the epitome of gentle kindness, and I loved her relationship with her son. In fact, this is a novel about lovely people, in the main, and it’s touching to see Eleanor’s reserves begin to collapse as she begins to see herself and the world differently.

3. Eleanor’s forays into casual email sign-offs: tracing the changes into her responses to Raymond as he quietly knocks away at her social awkwardness and unfriendliness made me smile. Seismic changes are already underway when we get to this one, and Eleanor is picking up on Raymond’s social cues.

C U Friday Rx

Was a response required? I suspected it was, so I just sent this


4. Eleanor’s adopted cat, Glen: If ever a cat appeared at the right time in a novel, this is that cat. Traumatised by events of her own, Glen instantly settles into Eleanor’s rather bare flat and immediately takes over, giving Eleanor a thing to look after and love. As substitutes go, Glen is a big improvement on Polly the plant.

5. Raymond: I spent most of the book trying to decide who should play him on the screen. I went for Chris O’Dowd. Raymond is just lovely.

3 thoughts on “Five Things I loved about Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

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