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June book club - Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

(98 Posts)
CariGransnet (GNHQ) Wed 31-May-17 11:41:39

Winners of this much talked about debut novel - more details here - should be receiving their copies shortly. If you do get one, don't forget to leave your comments and questions for author Gail Honeyman on this thread by the end of the month

LadyGracie Thu 29-Jun-17 21:25:32

I've received another copy too!

Mapleleaf Thu 29-Jun-17 22:29:23

I've just finished reading Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine and thoroughly enjoyed it. It was funny in places, but extremely touching. I was so pleased that Eleanor was eventually able to seek help to face her demons and begin to deal with them with the support of Raymond and Maria.
I wonder, like Gagagran, if Gail will write a sequel. I hope she considers this as I think there is more to discover about Eleanor and Raymond and their developing friendship.
Thank you GN for sending me a copy to read.

travelsafar Thu 29-Jun-17 23:16:40

I have just finished reading this book too am returning it to the local library tomorrow under their one week loan rule. I throughly enjoyed it and thought it was skillfuly written and i was so surprised when the revelation about the motherand daughter conversations were revealed. I wont say what it was as dont want to spoil for others.
Raymond was a true friend and it would be lovely to see a book about them and their future.

Greenfinch Fri 30-Jun-17 07:01:28

I wish I could give the books I receive from GN. to my local library but for some obscure reason they will only accept them if they are completely unread so the Oxfam shop it is !I am quite enjoying the present book but not as much as other recent ones so far.Perhaps when I get further into it I will get more absorbed.Still it is different !

mbody Fri 30-Jun-17 12:56:44

Excellent read, not my usual style but very interesting and absorbing. Did Gail have personal experience of Eleanor's problems?

gillyknits Sat 01-Jul-17 10:51:13

I've got another copy today!

GeminiJen Sat 01-Jul-17 16:34:27

As others have already said, on one level this is an easy read and I completed it in two sittings. On another level though, this debut novel manages successfully to combine some laugh out loud moments with some deeply shocking ones, from childhood neglect, physical cruelty and emotional abuse to repressed memories and survivor guilt. “Fire tests gold...and adversity tests the brave.”
On a personal level, I found that I could immediately associate with Eleanor. I have a niece with autism and felt great sympathy with how Eleanor sees the world in simple black and white terms. I laughed at how she thought WE were the rude, weird, anti social ones, not her. There is so much humour and compassion in the book and I loved that, as Eleanor’s social connections grew, so did her confidence and her appreciation of what it is to be loved and to offer love and kindness in return. I particularly enjoyed her unfurling relationship with Raymond. This is such a genuinely innocent and touching friendship and I loved the subtle little moments which depict beautifully Eleanor's emerging feelings of connection to him. "Bad Days" contains some shocking and difficult scenes which I thought were superbly written, with brutal honesty and raw emotion. The prospect of happiness for Eleanor at the end left me feeling very hopeful for her future.
Well done to Gail Honeyman. This book will stay with me for a long time and I can't wait for more from this author.
My question for Gail is: What’s next? Any prospects for a film? And/or a follow on book? I’d love to see what life does in fact have in store for Eleanor.

Waveney Sun 02-Jul-17 00:03:37

I started off being very unsure about this book, but the story drew me in and by the end I was eager to know how it was going to work out for Eleanor. It is a really fine first novel! I loved the references to McDonald's and Top Gear ( both of which made me laugh!) The story reminded me how important it is not to take people at face value or make assumptions. The ending was very satisfying ( some people will still be reading so I won't spoil it.) I would like to ask Gail if she started with an outline of the whole story, and then filled it in, or did she start with no clear idea of what the end would be? One of the best GN books I have read ( and I am still not sure what to do with my extra copy!smile)

rocketstop Sun 02-Jul-17 10:41:10

Hi Gail,
I really really loved the book. I once knew someone similar to Eleanor, sadly she is no longer with us, but she had a difficult life and although didn't have all the finely honed social skills, just like Eleanor, she grabbed any fragment of friendship or kindness as though it was a handsome golden thing.
I think maybe you knew or came in contact with an 'Eleanor' ? If not then your grasp of how such a person behaves was inspired and inspiring. I loved Raymond and his Mum, you didn't make him a freak, he had mates etc but you didn't make him a knight either which would have made him unbelievable.I totally believed in your characters, and without spoiling the book for anyone that has yet to finish it...I loved your little twist that all was not as we thought with 'Mummy' !!
Well done Gail, a great book, I hope you write something else soon, I don't know if you want to write more about Eleanor, I need her and Raymond to settle a while !
ps. Gransnet, I received an extra copy but have given it away hope this is ok.Hopefully more people will discover Gail's writing !

Moocow Sun 02-Jul-17 11:50:46

Just finished and have to say I really enjoyed it. I would settle down into a comfortable position and slowly read the developing story as I felt really spoilt with such a lovely story. Loved the characters, loved the way it would take me by surprise, making me suddenly laugh and at other times suddenly find myself feeling quite sad and concerned for certain characters. Unpredictable - it sure is. Wonderful first book Gail Honeyman. If I had it in paperback I would definately take it on holiday to re-read during my travels next year. Love having the hardback for my bookshelf though! Thank you.

CariGransnet (GNHQ) Mon 03-Jul-17 10:56:30

Attention (all who received two copies rather than one)

We have spoken to the publishers and they have asked that you please give your spare copy to a friend

Pittcity Mon 03-Jul-17 15:05:47

I have passed one copy to DD1 and the other will go to DM when I'm finished. Im nearly there.

obag Tue 04-Jul-17 10:33:47

Am really enjoying this book, Eleanor is a very damaged character but so funny, you can't help but love her. I so hope that all will work out well for her and that she will find happiness.

gillyknits Tue 04-Jul-17 13:05:39

I absolutely loved this book! I didn't know what to expect as the title is rather odd.
At first it introduces you to Eleanor and her lack of social graces and her organised routines. As the book develops you realise why she behaves in this way. She is like an onion and the author peels away the layers until we see the real Eleanor.
There are moments of humour and sadness as we see Eleanor at work and in her own home. I loved the characters, especially Raymond (an unlikely hero)! It made me smile and made me cry and now I have finished it, I really miss it. That to me is the sign of a good book.
I wonder what was the inspiration for this book and ask Gail if she actually knows someone like this?
More please, can't wait for your next book. I would really recommend this.

PoshGran Tue 04-Jul-17 20:40:23

Thank you, Gail Honeyman for a thought-provoking & entertaining read.
I recommend "Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine" for its quirky heroine who slowly begins to shine through the pages. The cleverly-woven storyline & neat supporting characters draws the reader into her life with touches of sadness & glorious, laugh-out-loud flashes of Eleanor's often unintentional wrestlings with day-to-day life. What a back story & what a deft twist for the reader at the end. Bravo! smile

My question for Gail is: Were there difficulties in finding the correct places in the narrative to insert the hints of what had happened in Eleanor's life?

Incidentally GN, my 2nd (uncut) copy of the book went to my local library, who received it with thanks.

LadyGracie Tue 04-Jul-17 21:13:15

What a brilliant book! I too hope they'll be a sequel. It made me laugh and cry at times and I couldn't honestly see the way Eleanor's life would go. A truly inspirational first novel. I'll look out for more books by Gail in the future.

Pittcity Wed 05-Jul-17 08:44:12

I really enjoyed this book. Seeing life through Eleanor's eyes made me realise how insignificant some of the things that we obsess about, clothes, makeup etc, are.
I do hope she has a happy ever after.

heatherjw Wed 05-Jul-17 19:50:57

Like others I have received a second copy. I work in a library and so have donated it and was pleased to see it was immediately borrowed by a reader. I have just finished the book and really enjoyed how the author gradually unravels Eleanor's story at the same time as she emerges from the limitations of her life. My only niggle is that the character Raymond seems too good to be true, very emotional intelligent, which is not something you normally associate with IT workers. I'd definitely recommend this book to others.

Maggiemaybe Wed 05-Jul-17 22:31:07

Oi, heatherjw, my son's an IT bod, less of the stereotyping! grin Though to be fair, from long experience of computer problems, I admit you do have a point!

I loved this book, and it seems the GN feeling's unanimous. I've just finished it, and I'm really 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.

If it's not too personal I'd like to ask the author why, with such an obvious talent for writing, it's taken so long for her to publish her debut novel?

Waveney Thu 06-Jul-17 13:22:45

After reading some of the posts on here I took my second copy of Eleanor to my local library, who were thrilled with the donation! I do hope future lenders enjoy it as much as I didsmile

chloe1984 Thu 06-Jul-17 17:17:08

I passed my second copy to my neighbour who was thrilled to receive it. I absolutely loved this book and found it difficult to put down. The descriptive passages around the frog pouffe etc and her meals were splendid. As ever not my normal type of read but I cannot praise it enough.

harrigran Sun 09-Jul-17 10:46:50

This is a great book and was surprised to learn it was a debut novel. Eleanor was clearly damaged and as the book progressed I began to understand how her childhood was governing her life as an adult. I did guess early on that Mummy was not really phoning on a weekly basis.
I have met people like Eleanor and I was wondering if you were writing from experience.
A thoroughly enjoyable book and one I might have missed if I had been looking in a book shop. Thank you GN.
To Gail Honeyman, I wish you success in your writing career as you clearly have a future.

Greenfinch Mon 10-Jul-17 09:48:49

I have just finished reading this brilliant book and have really enjoyed it.All the characters are so well depicted especially Eleanor with her problems of social interaction added to those of her horrendous childhood.Why did you choose Oliphant as her new surname ?It would seem that the name could lend itself to mockery with its association to a certain large animal.
I also very much liked Maria Temple who was gentle and seemed to ask all the right questions. How close do you feel to either her or Eleanor ?
I very much look forward to reading future novels from you Gail

cornergran Tue 11-Jul-17 13:02:18

Once I had settled into this book I enjoyed it very much. The story unfolded carefully, holding the interest. I loved Eleanor's complexity and her simplicity. I guessed that all was not what it seemed with 'Mummy' and this may have been an internal dialogue The Bad Days section was a painful read, the interaction with Maria felt an informed dialogue, it explained much of the past while also hinting that there could be a good future. I wanted to cheer at the acceptance of depression in the workplace and send huge thanks to Raymond for just being who he was. I wondered how Gail had decided to write with one narrator, rather than giving Raymond his own voice. I wonder if Gail has any thoughts about a sequel or if she believes Eleanor is best left where she is allowing the reader to visualise her future. Thank you Gail and GN for an absorbing book.

Dannydog1 Tue 11-Jul-17 18:41:40

This book was so worth waiting for. I instantly knew this was a book to stay up late to read. Eleanor the main character is funny, sad, brave and totally believable. The style of writing made it easy to read. I enjoyed being part of her journey and watch her development, socially and emotionally. Raymond was a quiet hero. I miss her.