When I first picked up this book, I thought this is going to be a fun read. Eleanor Oliphant did come across as someone who is completely fine. You are bound to believe that she is fine. After all, everything seemed fine about her life. She was living in a fine apartment all by herself, not having to share it with an annoying roommate. Her job was pretty fine as well; there wasn’t anything to be stressed about at work. Her boss seemed to be a fine person, with a kind attitude towards Eleanor.
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine (Review)
Eleanor wore similar clothes every day to work, carried the same lunch every day, and lived her perfect routine every single day of her life. She didn’t have friends, and she came across as rather self-sufficient. On weekends she bought herself exactly two bottles of vodka, and that was about it. She was living her perfect life. Everything was carefully time-tabled. There was nothing she was missing out on, yet sometimes it felt like she was missing out on everything.
When things seem calm and quiet, there are chances of a storm waiting to hit the shore and turn everything into debris. And so was Eleanor’s calmness; it was the calm before the storm. Something was about to hit her so hard that all her perfections were to be shattered into stardust. Some times a small act of kindness can save someone from years of trauma. It can bring them solace and heal their scars earned from their worst battles. And this book is all about trauma, healing, and kindness. This may come across as triggering for some people who have dealt with all of this first hand. So, one needs to be careful before picking up this book.
The book starts off peacefully, but it’s one hell of a roller coaster ride. Hence, the reader must be sure of their emotional availability for a book like this. Eleanor had a crazy childhood. She had to go through a lot of trauma at a very young age. Her mother was not only violent but was also manipulating and constantly gaslighted Eleanor for a long time. Even when she was living her perfectly time-tabled life, her mother made sure to ruin everything by calling her up, gaslighting her into believing that she is unworthy. She turned her best days into her worst nightmares.
The trauma can be easily identified from the way Eleanor dreads her mother. She ends up being manipulated over and over again. Her mother’s toxicity ends up shattering every last bit of Eleanor’s confidence and self-worth. There are times when the phone call conversations will give you goosebumps. It’s scary and triggering. You can feel the uneasiness of the air around her mother’s cruel words. Her words will crawl up your skin and make you hate her. The book feels so real; it becomes difficult to come out of the story. And just when the world starts to collapse around her, Raymond enters with his ridiculous fashion sense, and a heart so warm and big, you’ll feel being embraced. His kindness and selflessness will turn Eleanor’s world upside down for good. Just for the record, this book is not a love story. In fact, it’s anything but a romance novel. Eleanor and Raymond share a rather platonic relationship. And I have to admit I haven’t read two characters as heart-warming as these two."A person can take care of another person without having to share any romantic feelings with them." Tweet if you agree!
Raymond came as a breath of fresh air for Eleanor. They started having lunch together, which was new for Eleanor as she had never shared her meals with anyone before. He took her to his home, where she met Raymond’s mother. It was an inexplicable experience for Eleanor. Raymond became that friend Eleanor always wanted but never dared to find; someone who would be there without asking questions. There are so many beautiful moments in the book that will completely melt your heart. The journey from trauma to healing is something so rare. The moment when Raymond saves Eleanor, listens to her childhood trauma, and stays with her to take care of her is unprecedented. A big chunk of the book is about taking care. A person can take care of another person without having to share any romantic feelings with them, and I found this the most beautiful part of the book. This book forms the foundation of affection and care is bigger than anything else.
And therefore, for me, “Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine” has to be one of the finest books that I have read so far.