Wow! Another great book! This one defies easy description – the book jacket blurb doesn’t do it justice at all. Eleanor Oliphant, as the title suggests, is completely fine but really isn’t. Having survived a truly traumatic event in her childhood (which we learn about via small hints because even she has completely repressed the memory) she is simply ill prepared for living, even though she goes through the motions.
Eleanor is very smart with a huge vocabulary, an interest in the classics, perfect pitch and a complete disinterest in the opinions and practices of those around her. The story is told in her voice – reminiscent of the narrator of The Rosie Project – as she works her way through the landscape of human interaction and practices like the proverbial man from Mars. The mood is humorous with moment of tear-inducing poignancy – not heavy handed or depressing but the warm impact of even the simplest kind word or touch.
A chance encounter with a handsome, would-be rock star stimulates Eleanor to embark on a project to bring about true love with the man she has identified as The One. Don’t be fooled, this is not a rom-com, and Eleanor has serious work to do to learn how to actually wake up and live her life (hint: the rock star, while triggering this desire to live, does not figure highly in the result – I meant it when I said no rom-com!)