My favourite book - 2018

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman


I wasn’t really sure which book to write about next. I decided to go with my absolute favourite from last year. I hope you enjoy it!


Why did I read this book?

Last year, I had to go to Munich for work. On the flight there, I finished the book I was reading and was therefore left with nothing to read for the rest of the trip. I went to a bookshop to buy a new one. The bookshop I found was huge, five floors or more, and luckily they had a tiny “Books in English” section. There wasn’t much to choose from, so I was about to purchase His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman (also one of my favourites!) again, when a book title caught my eye: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. 

A few weeks earlier, a girl at work had asked for book recommendations, and a lot of people mentioned this book. I decided to buy it. I had a bit of time before my work dinner, so I decided to start reading. The bookshop had a lovely space with chairs for readers, so it was perfect. Around 10 minutes into the book, I started laughing out loud and people started staring. I was unsure if this was acceptable etiquette in German bookshops, but I couldn’t help myself. I had already fallen in love with Eleanor Oliphant. 

What is the book about?

  • This story is about Eleanor and how the world reacts to her: A story about a woman with different social skills. A woman that tends to always say exactly what she’s thinking. A woman that sees the world and life in a different way.

  • Friendship: A story about how new friends can alter even our most embedded routines and habits, and therefore the course of our lives.

  • Hope: A story about compassion and warmth. A story about what can happen when we’re nice to each other. A story about how friendship can help us to start over, and overcome our deepest pain, even when we think we can’t.

Why should you read it?

  • A beautiful story, beautifully written: Definitively the book I enjoyed most in 2018. It’s light and engaging, a quick and very enjoyable read.  

  • You’ll laugh and cry: Rarely does a book make me laugh out loud and cry, but this one managed to take me to both. Gail Honeyman takes us from the dark places of our existence, to the light we’re also able to find within ourselves and others.  

  • A very sui generis main character: Eleanor’s voice is unique, I enjoyed reading a different logic, an alternative way of looking at things. 

“A philosophical question: if a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? And if a woman who's wholly alone occasionally talks to a pot plant, is she certifiable? I think that it is perfectly normal to talk to oneself occasionally. It's not as though I'm expecting a reply. I'm fully aware that Polly is a houseplant.”

― Gail Honeyman (Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine)

Links to buy the book

Amazon UK

Amazon MX

Amazon US

//As an Amazon Associate I earn a commission from qualifying purchases via the above links.//

Favourite quotes

//The purpose of this section is to share some of my favourite book bits, so you can come back to them when you finish a book, if you wish to do so. I’ve put in bold my favourite ones, in case you want to read a few (or all) ahead of the book.//

“I simply fail to see how the act of legally formalizing a human relationship necessitates friends, family and co-workers upgrading the contents of their kitchen for them.”

― Gail Honeyman (Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine)

“I suppose one of the reasons we’re all able to continue to exist for our allotted span in this green and blue vale of tears is that there is always, however remote it might seem, the possibility of change.”

― Gail Honeyman (Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine)

“However much you loved someone, it wasn’t always enough. Love alone couldn’t keep them safe…”

― Gail Honeyman (Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine)

“If someone asks you how you are, you are meant to say FINE. You are not meant to say that you cried yourself to sleep last night because you hadn't spoken to another person for two consecutive days. FINE is what you say.”

― Gail Honeyman (Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine)

“Time only blunts the pain of loss. It doesn’t erase it.”

― Gail Honeyman (Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine)

/*The quote below has been cut short to avoid spoilers*/

“[...] Popular people sometimes have to laugh at things they don’t find very funny, do things they don’t particularly want to, with people whose company they don’t particularly enjoy. Not me. I had decided, years ago, that if the choice was between that or flying solo, then I’d fly solo. It was safer that way. Grief is the price we pay for love, so they say. The price is far too high.

― Gail Honeyman (Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine)

“Your voice changes when you’re smiling, it alters the sound somehow.”

― Gail Honeyman (Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine)

“Sometimes you simply needed someone kind to sit with you while you dealt with things.”

― Gail Honeyman (Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine)

“When you're struggling hard to manage your own emotions, it becomes unbearable to have to witness other people's, to have to try and manage theirs too.”

― Gail Honeyman (Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine)

“Did men ever look in the mirror, I wondered, and find themselves wanting in deeply fundamental ways? When they opened a newspaper or watched a film, were they presented with nothing but exceptionally handsome young men, and did this make them feel intimidated, inferior, because they were not as young, not as handsome? Did they then read newspaper articles ridiculing those same handsome men if they gained weight or wore something unflattering?”

― Gail Honeyman (Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine)

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