Book Reviews

Book Review: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

I almost forgot to write this review mostly because I’ve been so busy working, adulting and reading that I have basically even forgotten about myself.

Mental health is a topic I recently got into because of a Nigerian NGO called Mentally Aware Nigeria Institute (Mani). They educate the general public about mental illnesses and provide a support for people who are suffering from mental illnesses. It was a member of Mani who recommended the book.

I found the title intriguing and I was looking for another read after finishing Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo so I got the book and I read it.

Firstly, I seem to have the talent for picking good books because this book was really really good. One way to know a good writer is how they write emotion and Gail Honeyman is an amazing writer.

The book is split into two parts: The good days and the bad days. Eleanor Oliphant is alone and lonely. She has a job which she has had for over eight years and she has weekly calls with her mother. She lives a life of routine: She eats the same thing at the same time and drinks vodka every weekend. She knows she needs to change but seems powerless to do so. Then she meets Raymond, a scattered, dirty smoker who comes and shows her what it feels like to have a friend.

I felt things. On the good days, I couldn’t stop flipping the pages. It was a regular, very well written book. The language in which the book is written is so unbelievably good. Simple and addictive. The good days show what Eleanor’s life is typically like with a hint into her troubled past. I couldn’t help but fall in love with Eleanor’s humour and her failed attempts to socialize. She reminded me of myself and about one million other introverts.

On the bad days, we get to really look inside her head. We see exactly what she’s like when she gets tired of being lonely and faces reality. This almost crippled me. I kept wanting to stop reading the book. I felt so vividly everything that happened to Eleanor. I was almost broken by my own feelings. Things got a resolution after all and the events all came to a head but it took a lot of energy for me to get past the most horrible parts.

Days after reading this book, I’m still reeling.

Honestly, I only started reading about mental health but I can already tell that this will be one of the most unforgettable books I will read generally and on the topic. It talks about depression, tackles it head on without any sugarcoating or any holding back. It illustrates the way that depression affects the day to day life of people suffering from it.

When I think of the way people look at mental health, talk about it, speak about it, I feel sad. I can’t wait for more awareness to be generated on the topic and I’m sure that the time for that is coming soon.

It is a book that is bound to trigger conversation and I think everyone should read it. From what I hear, its getting a movie. It definitely deserves it.

My rating – 6/5 stars.

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