Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine Review: Best Seller for a Reason?

SPOILERS: in this Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine review, I’ll take you through why I wasn’t so sure about its Bestseller title…

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine Book

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine was released in 2017 by Gail Honeyman. For a debut novel, this story was extremely popular, receiving glowing reviews from newspapers and reviewers alike.

Considering the story’s popularity, Reese Witherspoon snapped it up to make the Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine movie. The release date is still unknown, but it just goes to show that Eleanor’s somewhat relatable character has captured the hearts of book lovers everywhere.

This one is an easy read, perfect for just before bed, or any other time you want to relax a little, and take a breather. But, is the story all it’s cracked up to be? Find out more, here….

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine Characters

Gail Honeyman’s story doesn’t have many characters, but still manages to be a pretty complex plot. So, our three main characters, who take the whole story from start to finish, include:

  • Eleanor Oliphant: she is our protagonist; a shy woman, who has almost no friends, and gets on with her job, day in and day out. Her routine of drinking bottles of vodka every weekend show you that she is a creature of habit, and a lonely one at that.
  • Eleanor’s Mother: she only ever makes an appearance over the phone, calling her daughter each once a week at an allotted time. She is harsh, and is the cause of the story’s turmoil. But, is she all she seems?
  • Raymond Gibbons: he is the IT man who Eleanor pays little attention to. He is described as being poorly dressed and pretty unkempt, but Eleanor learns to like him in time.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine Synopsis

Eleanor Oliphant follows the story of a troubled young woman who struggles with day-to-day life, having had a disturbed childhood. She is unable to maintain normal, friendly relationships, and experiences bullying in the workplace, which she does not seem to register with her unusual character.

She speaks to her deranged mother each week on the phone, which affects her mental health, but soon befriends her work’s IT technician, Raymond. They form an unlikely bond, and he introduces her to a number of new people along the way.

Meanwhile, Eleanor is love-struck by a singer, who she attempts to seduce. In general, it seems Eleanor does not seem to understand the normalities of social behaviour – she just doesn’t fit in.

Eleanor Oliphant Book Cover

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine Ending

If you’re planning on reading this novel, you may wish to avert your eyes for this part. Here is where I’ll be discussing the surprising twist at the end of the story, which I, for one, didn’t see coming.


Right at the end of the story, we find out that Eleanor’s mother died a long time ago, and Eleanor has been fabricating their phone conversations all these years. The abuse that she received from her mother has left her scarred, and also reliant on her mothers’ advice and conversation.

It seems to be a sense of Stockholm Syndrome which is keeping her captive to the memory of her mother. When Eleanor begins to have a life of her own, that’s when she lets go, and no longer needs her “mummy”.

I have to say that, considering how the story was panning out, I didn’t expect this ending. Some people may have seen it coming, but I didn’t. The story was pretty mundane up until then, and was very much a day-in-the-life sort of story. I enjoy stories like this, as it’s nice to just kick your feet up and make your way through the step-by-steps of someone else’s life.

However, it was one of those stories where you’re thinking, “how could this end? I only have a few pages left, and I don’t see a round-up ending happening any time soon.” But, Honeyman didn’t disappoint with this one.


My Overall Thoughts

After hearing about this book from a number of people, I was interested to see what it was all about and, when I spotted it in my local WHSmiths before my holiday in Marmaris, I thought I’d pick it up. Considering it was a best seller, I was expecting great things so, after readingĀ Rebecca, I then followed it with this book.

Was it an Easy-Going Read?

It was a very speedy read, to say the least, and I finished it within only a few days. This was pleasant as, after reading Rebecca, which took me over half of my holiday, it was nice to read something a little more easy-going.

However, easy-going it was not… although there were certainly some light-hearted elements to the story, with some laugh-out-loud moments, the underlying back-story was rather dark. Eleanor’s alcoholism and mental health issues due to her unusual upbringing left her with inner turmoil with which she hid from. With an unexpected twist right at the very end, we soon realise the past trauma Eleanor has suffered, which explains her inability to interact with people on a friendly level.

Was Eleanor Relatable?

I certainly enjoyed the book, as it was easy to relate to the protagonist’s charm, especially as her annoyances surrounding general life are just the exaggerated irritants of any normal person’s life! I could certainly relate to a number of issues she found annoying, and found her thoughts very humorous.

However, despite its best-seller accolade, I was a little disappointed with the story; I didn’t really feel gripped to it, and I was never yearning to read more. Nevertheless, for a relaxing read in the sunshine, this novel definitely did the trick.

Rating: 6/10

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine Book Cover

What Did You Think?

Have you readĀ Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine? What did you think of the story? Were you as enamoured as everyone else by the tale, or a little disappointed, like me?

I’d love to know your thoughts, so do leave a comment down below! Let’s start a discussion to see if my mind could, perhaps, be changed…

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