Martin's Must Reads: 'Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine'

May 28, 2019

“My phone doesn’t ring often - and it makes me jump when it does - and it’s usually people asking if I’ve mis-sold Payment Protection Insurance. I whisper “I know where you live” to them and hang up the phone very, very gently. No one’s been in my flat this year apart from service professionals; I’ve not voluntarily invited another human being across my threshold, except to read the meter. You’d think that would be impossible, wouldn’t you? It’s true though. I do exist, don’t I?”

I’m Betty Martin with "Martin’s Must Reads" and that’s a quote from the opening chapter of Gail Honeyman’s novel Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. Eleanor is a friendless thirty-year old woman who works in the finance office of a small Scottish graphics design firm. She is comfortable in her very routine life reading all kinds of books, eating the same meals alone in her apartment and spending her weekends entirely alone except for two bottles of vodka.

One day her life begins to change. She develops a crush on a bar musician and begins to make small changes to her appearance so he’ll notice her. Then she’s reluctantly drawn into a friendship with Raymond, the new IT guy at work and with Sammy, an older man that she and Raymond help in his time of need. Through these friends and their respective families, Eleanor encounters lovely, kind, people..something she did not experience in her upbringing or in her last romantic involvement. This book is funny, poignant, and, in the end, full of hope.

If you believe that it’s important to have at least one person in your life who loves you unconditionally, then you must read Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman.