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February book of the month: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

(58 Posts)
RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 06-Feb-18 10:44:53

We're kicking off 2018 with the brilliant, award-winning debut Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. We're still waiting for confirmation on the webchat date but Gail will be joining us at the end of Feb to discuss the book and answer your questions.

If you're interested in joining us in reading Eleanor Oliphant, find out more about the book and read or listen to an extract.

Join our discussion about the book on this thread and do join us for the evening webchat with Gail at the end of the month. More info to follow....

Daisymaybe60 Sat 10-Feb-18 17:02:04

I loved this book. I've just finished it, and I'm going to miss Eleanor and Raymond, for me both convincing characters that I've enjoyed rooting for. In my own imagination they already have their happy ending, and I can't see a sequel coming out, but I'm eagerly looking forward to whatever this very talented author comes up with next. It's not often you find a book that tugs so hard at the heartstrings and makes you laugh out loud in equal measure.

My reading group has now chosen this as their next book, and I'm sure they'll all love it, which isn't often the case.

Gooseysgirl Mon 12-Feb-18 06:42:36

Received my copy thanksthanks Can't put it down, loving it so far!

pizza1234 Mon 12-Feb-18 10:14:17

I absolutely loved this book. Best I've read in a long while. I laughed and cried and rooted for the main characters throughout. I cannot wait to read more by this author.

Lkjem Mon 12-Feb-18 10:41:36

Great book. Knew when I'd finished it that someone would get the film rights. RW has.

SavageBeauty73 Mon 12-Feb-18 10:47:33

I loved it. So moving.

DarthNigel Mon 12-Feb-18 11:28:27

Great book. I've started referring to all my jackets as 'jerkins' by tribute to Eleanor smile

pizza1234 Mon 12-Feb-18 17:52:08

I loved Eleanor. The book was full of witty comments- "I have often noticed that people who routinely wear sportswear are the least likely sort to participate in athletic activity". So funny!

mynameisnotmichaelcaine Tue 13-Feb-18 19:20:03

I loved it, but I felt that the twist at the end was utterly unnecessary, and detracted from the beauty of the story.

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 14-Feb-18 13:34:07

We've had confirmation that Eleanor Oliphant author Gail Honeyman will be joining us for a webchat and to answer your questions on Wednesday 28 February between 9 and 10pm. The webchat will take place on this discussion thread so do please put date in your diaries and join us on the night. For those who have yet to read, there's still two weeks left to read. We'll be running comps across Mumsnet Instagram and Mumsnet Towers Twitter later this week so sign up for a chance to win a copy.

BetterEatCheese Wed 14-Feb-18 20:08:28

Thank you so much for my copy! Can't wait to read it 👏🏻

LassWiADelicateAir Wed 14-Feb-18 23:01:40

Eleanor Oliphant would know , and comment, that it is wrong use both "Mr" and Esq.

Mr J.Lomond Esq ? I cannot imagine Eleanor letting that one pass.

It is very funny , although extremely predictable and I am unconvinced that Eleanor could have such a lack of knowledge of popular culture / social mores.

cakeforme Thu 15-Feb-18 20:42:53

Arrived today. My first book club read!

Givemecoffeeplease Fri 16-Feb-18 20:39:38

Amazing book. AMAZING.

LassWiADelicateAir Sat 17-Feb-18 01:38:58

I finished it a few days ago and I'm liking it less and less the more I think about it.

I'm thoroughly unconvinced by Eleanor's stilted but grammatically correct language which, along with her incredible (and Eleanor-like I am using " incredible" in its original sense of "not believable") lack of knowledge, insight and understanding of popular culture and mores, serve no purpose other than comedy. Yes this is funny, but it is very contrived and does not result in a credible character.

Eleanor is supposed to be someone who reads a lot, watches television, does the Daily Telegraph crossword, listens to Radio 4 and whose favourite novelist is Jane Austen.

She clearly didn't take in, far less understand, any of the information from these sources- she is confused by orange juice with bits in it? McDonald's is a mystery?

LassWiADelicateAir Sat 17-Feb-18 01:43:38

The book was full of witty comments- "I have often noticed that people who routinely wear sportswear are the least likely sort to participate in athletic activity". So funny!

Well it was funny the first 2 or 3 times this observation was made ; which was several decades ago when people started to wear sportswear as normal clothes.

mynameisnotmichaelcaine Sat 17-Feb-18 06:48:48

I thought her language was indicative of someone with ASD; language is often utterly grammatically correct but stilted.

cleofatra Sun 18-Feb-18 13:10:12

She clearly didn't take in, far less understand, any of the information from these sources- she is confused by orange juice with bits in it? McDonald's is a mystery?

Yes, I agree with this. If we consider Eleanor's childhood from age 10 to University, this would be pretty much rubbish. She would have been around too many different people and families for some of the "quirks" .

whitestephens16 Wed 21-Feb-18 16:35:25

@LassWiADelicateAir
thank goodness I'm not alone and I'm not going mad: I really didn't like this book, at all.
I had heard all the hype (and it is hype now that I've read it I am afraid) and bought myself a copy preparing to laugh and to cry. I only laughed once and it didn't make me cry even once. I was just hugely surprised and disappointed that someone could write something so contrived and be lacking in characters with depth only to find they have created a bestseller. It was trite and irritating and lacked authenticity.
It really struggled to find the hidden gem and ultimately concluded it didn't exist.

Greensmurf1 Sat 24-Feb-18 19:35:15

I binge read this on the way to a half term break and ended up with nothing to read on the way home!

I found Eleanor a bit perplexing at the start and I wondered how she could be so out of touch, but I do have quirky intellectual friends who are surprisingly oblivious to ordinary cultural references. I also wondered what the twist would be and whether she was on the autism spectrum, mentally ill or something else I couldn't quite put my finger on. I raced through to find out.

I would like to ask the author whether he felt like Eleanor was inhabiting her own head while she was writing. Did she become immersed in the character and start to see the world through Eleanor's eyes and feel her foibles imposing themselves? Was it emotionally draining or did she manage to maintain some detachment as she wrote?

happytobemrsg Sat 24-Feb-18 20:20:44

I finished the book today. I enjoyed it but it wasn't something I was desperate to get back to each time. The more I think about it the more I tend to agree with LassWiADelicateAir. Her lack of social knowledge didn't really match up with her obvious intelligence & the way she observed the world around her. However, I thought her feelings of isolation & loneliness were beautifully written

happytobemrsg Sat 24-Feb-18 20:21:35

Also I'm a BIG cryer when it comes to booos but I didn't cry once

happytobemrsg Sat 24-Feb-18 20:21:45

*books

LassWiADelicateAir Sun 25-Feb-18 03:42:00

However, I thought her feelings of isolation & loneliness were beautifully written

Yes that is true it is such a contrast with the over-egging of her lack of knowledge of the everyday world for comic effect.

NinjagoNinja Sun 25-Feb-18 22:06:35

Just finished this. Hated the ending. It's a breach of trust with the reader to have an unreliable narrator - unless we know all along that they are unreliable. Like in Girl on the Train. Its all a bit "Bobby in the shower" (Dallas reference) for me. Far too much detail in the Mummy conversations, too much deliberate effort to trick the reader. I don't like that.

And yes to her naivety - a child growing up in care, passed pillar to post would have seen a great deal of variety in the people and places she observed. She would have seen the grittier side of life as well. She would not be as naive as this.

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