Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Trigger Warning: This novel and review discuss the following: abuse.

Goodreads Rating: 2 Stars


I’m going to preface this review with the following statement: I know this is not a popular opinion… but I did not like Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine.

I disliked this book so much that within the first 40% of the novel, I knew I could not finish the book. As it was, I thought it was already pretty predictable. I knew there was going to be a cynical main character who clearly had some violence in her history, which caused her to be blunt. Also, Eleanor’s deeply critical of Raymond, a bumbling IT guy who seems to be a rather helpful person who genuinely wants to be her friend. It seems too obvious already that in the end, we know she is going to fall for him.

I had heard so much hype over this book, and that so many people found her endearing. In fact, I also heard her character being compared to Ove in A Man Called Ove. I loved Ove, and so I kept listening to the story in the hopes that I’d eventually warm up to Eleanor like I did with Ove. However, I just couldn’t handle her negativity and cynicism. Her judgmental tendencies rubbed me the wrong way and did nothing to endear her to me, and I just could not connect with her. Even when I started to pick up clues about her past abuse at the hands of Mommy, I struggled to find any empathy for her. This lack of connection made me dread reading further, and so I settled for a DNF.

I know this will be an unpopular opinion, and I know Eleanor Oliphant is beloved by many, but she has yet to win me over. I’ll give her a second chance when the Netflix special comes out, but as far as reading, it’s a no from me. I even tried listening to the audiobook in the hopes that maybe I can get through her story that way, but no.

I will say for Honeyman’s benefit, her writing is very convincing and I fully believe the characters that she has created. Anytime the Eleanor mentions mommy, I’d hear the hatred in Eleanor’s voice and I’d shudder. Honeyman clearly demonstrates her writing prowess with her foreshadowing and characterization, but she she did such a great job at creating an unlikeable character that ultimately, she made me dislike her book. Most of the time I can hang in there and I hope that at some point, I’ll gather enough sympathy or empathy for the character to give them a chance, but unfortunately that didn’t happen for me with Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine.

Now, if anyone wants to share- please tell me your thoughts and if you did or did not like this book. Be honest- I won’t come after you if you don’t like it either, lol!

Published: May 9, 2017

Publisher: Viking – Pamela Dorman Books

TL/DR: Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman is a fiction novel character study about a woman named Eleanor Oliphant.

Read it? If you want to, absolutely- but the book wasn’t up to the hype for me.

Recommend it? Unfortunately no.

Buy it? No, not for my shelves. However, feel free to take a chance on it!

If you liked this novel or review, check out these similar reads:

  • A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
  • Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman
  • Allegedly by Tiffany Jackson

Categories: Book Review, Contemporary, Fiction

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7 replies

  1. Awwww! I ❤️ Brave Eleanor ❤️ !!! I’m sorry it didn’t work for you. I was astounded by the plot twist and admire Honeyman for pulling that off! The story is unique and it’s a disservice when reviewers compare it to Ove. I think Eleanor is actually a difficult and painful read. Ove is quirky and Eleanor has experienced childhood trauma…not the same at all!

    • It’s okay, I know she is loved by many and in good hands, so I feel okay saying she just isn’t my kind of character. Thank you for saying that about Ove, because I didn’t see that connection either- two very different characters!

      • I have a lot of experience as an outlier! 😱😂😂😂 No two readers read the same book. The most to gain I guess is that now you have your own informed opinion!

  2. I agree with you completely. I listened, as well, and didn’t even make it as far as you did. I found Eleanor, the tone of the book, and many more elements very unlikeable.


  1. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman | Pastries & Paperbacks Book Club – Sometimes Leelynn Reads

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