Narrator: Catherine McCarron
Published by Penguin Audio on May 9, 2017
Genres: Contemporary Fiction
Length: 11 hours
Audio | Goodreads
No one’s ever told Eleanor that life should be better than fine.
Meet Eleanor Oliphant: She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy.
But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become the kinds of friends who rescue one another from the lives of isolation they have each been living. And it is Raymond’s big heart that will ultimately help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one.
Smart, warm, uplifting, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is the story of an out-of-the-ordinary heroine whose deadpan weirdness and unconscious wit make for an irresistible journey as she realizes. . .
The only way to survive is to open your heart.
Eleanor Oliphant is one of those characters who I find hard to describe in ways that won’t lead you to have the wrong impression. She’s socially awkward, painfully direct and lives a life of isolation outside of her job. There are really good reasons why her emotional growth is stunted and that’s revealed deliberately over the span of the story. When she meets the new IT guy at her job, Raymond, who also has his own brand of social issues, the two of them form their own brand of friendship that slowly develops and leads them out of their self imposed compartmentalization.
I very much enjoyed this story, particularly how it was told…without excessive description and explanation. Eleanor delivers the narrative in her unique way, which provides strong characterization and allowed me to experience her transformation on her terms. The exposure of the events of her past that shaped her future were tragic and not all of the critical details are revealed until late in the story, though I’d guessed most of it.
The narrator was excellent, notably for her capture of Eleanor. It would have been easy to make her a caricature but she was subtle in her delivery. There were so many humorous moments resulting from Eleanor’s frankness and refreshing perspective, which the performance executed perfectly. I loved everything about this book and am even more impressed that this was the author’s debut novel.
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