Talking Books host Robert Kirkwood reviews 'Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine' by Gail Honeyman
"Sitting loosely under the banner of chick-Lit, it might strike you as a surprising recommendation from me.
On the surface, it’s the story of a 30-year-old woman trying to survive work and life in modern Glasgow, but there’s so much more going on. It’s in part a study of loneliness, social awkwardness and relationships. There’s romance and even a mystery, as there’s a secret in Eleanor’s past.
At times I found this frustrating as the author drip feeds jigsaw pieces making up the background of the eponymous character. But in the end, it was just enough for me to keep the page turning and finding out more.
Eleanor Oliphant herself is a unique character; she’s learnt how to survive, but not to live. She wears the same clothes to work every day, eats the same meal deal every day, and buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink every weekend.
She’s hard to like at first. But as you start to see the world through her eyes, her point of view makes a certain amount of sense. Although at times you will not believe some of the decisions she makes internally.
The light-hearted moments are as light as the devastating moments are dark. It’s a debut novel, but it was the subject of a heated auction between publishers in the UK, and in the US, and the film rights have just been sold. All this was before the book came out in mid-May.
It’s set to be the book of the summer, and best of all, thanks to a deal with publisher HarperCollins; it was available on the day of publication from RNIB Talking Books."