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All booksContemporary fictionEleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
Contemporary fiction

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

We love supporting debut authors. Congrats, Gail Honeyman, on your first book!
Once a year, we break our own rules and share a book from earlier in the year that wowed us.

by Gail Honeyman

Quick take

"This is a warm account of one woman’s fight to let go of old hurts and insecurities and make room for self-acceptance and friends."

Why I love it

Gabrielle Union
Guest Judge

Ever meet one of those people who, for no clear reason, treats you like you’re not worth the time of day? I often wonder what their reason is for acting like that. Did they wake up on the wrong side of the bed? Are they just clueless about how conversations work? Or could it be that their life experiences give them reason to be guarded, to be wary of giving other people even the tiniest of ins?

Eleanor Oliphant falls—mostly—into the latter category. Thirty years old, she’s a mid-level accountant whose life runs along several well-worn, if lonely, tracks: dinners for one, weekly calls with her spritely, acid-tongued "Mummy," and, most of all, taking pains to avoid humanity. Sure, she doesn’t have friends, but in general, Eleanor is doing okay. In fact, she’s "completely fine." Um, yeah, no.

Though I was instantly won over by her cheerful narration, it wasn’t long before I began to suspect that Eleanor is not as fine as she pretends. Her plan to marry a local rock star in order to impress Mummy is just weird. Her weekend vodka-drinking seems excessive. And while her inability to get along with co-workers is definitely due to a lack of social graces (you’ll LOL at a few unwitting moments of rudeness), it also comes from her steadfast refusal to connect. When she’s forced to rescue an old man who’s collapsed outside the office, we realize that while Eleanor possesses the ability to let love in, heartbreakingly, she’s got some reason not to.

To be clear, this isn’t a mystery about Eleanor’s dark past, although gradually, the truth of her frightful upbringing is revealed. This is a warm account of one woman’s fight to let go of old hurts and insecurities and make room for self-acceptance and friends. If it sounds like a corny premise, trust me when I say this girl’s got grit. She’s a survivor, she’s witty, and, against all odds, she’s got a fair bit of unextinguishable pride. She’s Eleanor Oliphant. I can’t wait for you to meet her.

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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.

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Member thoughts

All (11532)
All (11532)
Love (7106)
Like (3700)
Dislike (726)
11641 ratings
  • 61% Love
  • 32% Like
  • 6% Dislike
  • Marana, AZ

    This book deserves to be on one those “must read” lists. I’ve never seen mental health issues portrayed with such accuracy & sensitivity. This book is utterly perfect and a boon for all “Eleanors”. <3

  • North Hollywood , CA

    At first I didn't like this book, it was just completely fine. Then I found that this book has layers just like we do. We just need someone to look past the “fine” & see what's really going on.

  • Edison, NJ

    When I first started, I thought, “all that fuss over this?” I kept going, and - WOW. This book, it sort of sneaks up on you, into your soft, emotional spaces, and stays with you long after you’re done

  • Saint Peter, MN

    I've been looking for a book like this for a long time. So grateful to have it on my bookshelf. This story is beautifully told with unique prose and plot—you won't find another like it. Must buy.

  • Seattle, WA

    This book was a joy to read. It tackled mental health and trauma with a nuance and humor I’ve never seen combined so well. Couldn’t put it down, because when I did, I couldn’t stop thinking about it!

  • Gansevoort , NY

    Eleanor Oliphant is a character that you can’t help but root for. The book is witty but does not shy away from the reality of the situation that sometimes she’s not fine and how she can move forward.

  • Prior Lake, MN

    I was captivated with “misfit” Eleanor from the very beginning. She reminds me a bit of the Baudelaire children; how tradegy and life’s unfortunate events ultimately help define the strength within!

  • North Hollywood, CA

    There’s a little Eleanor in all of us. The wounded walking about putting on that normal coat everyday. I just love that she gives herself a chance, that life just won’t give up on Ms. Eleanor Oliphant

  • Media , PA

    I forgot that I’d already been gifted the paperback when I ordered it. But I’m happy I did! Now I can lend the paperback & make sure I keep the hardcover- thats how much I absolutely loved this book!


    I absolutely loved this book. I love a well written and fleshed out quirky character and this Novel delivers. Can’t believe it’s been sitting on my tbr so long. This one will remain with me 4 a while

  • Albany , KY

    This is my new favorite standalone book, which I don’t usually read. I gave the book to my friend after I read it myself. I see a lot of me in Eleanor, that’s why I think I relate and love this book.

  • valley park, MO

    At first I wasn’t crazy about this book but the more I read the more I became invested in Eleanor. I finished the book and kept thinking back to it. The more time that passes the more I like the book.

  • Dallas, TX

    What a complex character, that although you know comes across so badly to others, you can’t help but love and feel for. Her growth and maturity seemed realistic and gave me the warm fuzzies. Loved it!

  • Elmont , NY

    I almost abandoned this after 20 pages because it made me roll my eyes when I misjudged where the story was leading me. I’m glad I continued reading because I couldn’t put it down. I adore Eleanor!

  • Haslett, MI

    I read this book cover to cover in less than a day. Clear your schedule to meet Elinor Oliphant. You won’t regret it. Warning though: it’s a heavy-hitter and potentially triggering for some readers.

  • Cary, NC

    This is one of my all-time favorite books! I love Eleanor so much, it was wonderful to watch her transform (and she’s hilarious without meaning to be). Raymond is such a sweet friend and a great guy.

  • Massapequa Park, NY

    Considering what Eleanor has been through in her 30 years, she more than fine— she’s a survivor. But it takes Raymond to help her do more than just survive, but to have a good life. I love Eleanor!

  • Shreveport, LA

    Eleanor’s awkwardness was so relatable yet she had a bit of arrogance to her demeanor. I loved how she gradually began to connect with people who wanted to help her feel loved/break free of her past.

  • Wesley chapel , FL

    Getting to know and understand Eleanor was a beautuful journey. Absoluey loved it. At first she annoyed me, then made me laugh, then cry; in the end I loved her. Don’t we all say we’re “fine”?

  • Chicago, IL

    Absolutely riveting. This books gives so much light and love to someone who sees the world in a very different way. It reminds us that we are all on our own journey but it’s about our friends we make

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