General Rating: A must read. Fabulous writing and a fantastic novel. I loved the straightforward talk of Eleanor coupled with hints sprinkled throughout that something in her past was awry. That combination kept me turning pages.
Favorite line: “Everything seems worse in the darkest hours of the night.” (So true!)
Skip factor: 1%. I skipped little.
Who should read: All women, especially those who have felt alone at times, and those who like quirky characters and good writing.
Summary: Eleanor Oliphant appears to be a person with autistic traits. The story is told through her mind and is fun to read. She is straightforward, often takes words out of context, and continually insists she is fine being alone with herself. When readers discover, however, that she may have experienced a traumatic childhood, they begin examining her in a different light.
Coworkers poke fun at her but she doesn’t mind. When a new employee, Raymond, walks with her one day, they come across an elderly man, Sam, staggering. Eventually, they end up escorting Sam to the hospital, and the three become friends. The story progresses, always with Raymond at Eleanor’s side, until Eleanor, like anyone who has suffered trauma, is forced to face her past.
Characters: Honeyman creates unique characters, which, in reality, you might not like or think about, but in print, you fall in love with quickly.
Eleanor has no filter and often takes words and phrases literally. Her thoughts sneak up on you at times and make you laugh. I loved this character almost instantly.
Raymond is an odd character whom I also liked right away. Readers are given a great description of him through Eleanor’s internal criticisms of his appearance. (Loved that.)
Sam is an older “Teddy Bear” personality who draws Eleanor out. When he wakes in the hospital, he offers Eleanor a warm, introductory handshake which she, having experience very little human touch, finds enjoyable. Warm.
Eleanor’s mother is odd, hard, crass, and it took me time to figure her out.
Other characters are exceptionally placed. A few from Sam’s family and Eleanor’s place of employment came and went. I was fond of her boss and one of Sam’s sons. The others were introduced at the perfect time to add to the story.
Storyline: This tells the story of an abused child who grew up in foster care after a traumatic youth. Eleanor Oliphant may be fictional, but her story mirrors real-life people who were forced to develop unusual coping skills to survive.
Writing: Honeyman’s writing is fabulous. She deserves a 10 in this category. Her final score of 9.5 is given for other reasons I won’t reveal (no spoilers). This is one of the best pieces of writing I’ve read in a long time.
Read this author again? Yes, yes, yes, patiently awaiting.
CJ Zahner is the author of The Suicide Gene, a psychological thriller, Dream Wide Awake, and Project Dream, two thrillers that carry a sixth-sense paranormal element, and Friends Who Move Couches, women’s fiction. These last two novels were inspired by Zahner’s own experiences. See the video of her own paranormal experience, a premonition of 9/11 here. Download her Beyond Reality Radio podcast here. Follow her on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, BookBub, or LinkedIn. Purchase her books on Amazon.