Widely hailed as the best debut fiction of 2017, we adored Eleanor Oliphant.
While working as an administrator, author Gail Honeyman enrolled in a Faber Academy writing course, submitting the first three chapters of what would become Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine to a competition for unpublished fiction by female writers, run by Cambridge's Lucy Cavendish College. The novel went on to earn numerous awards and wide critical acclaim.
Shortlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize 2018 and Category Winner for the Costa Book Awards 2017, First Novel Award, this book by Honeyman stole our hearts.
Eleanor has had a complicated life. Shifted from one foster home to another, she eventually goes to university where she ends up in an abusive relationship. On graduation she gets a job in the accounts department of a graphic designer and there she is when we meet her, aged 31 and desperately lonely.
Eleanor is on the spectrum with her life overshadowed by some dreadful childhood tragedy which has left her face badly scarred. She keeps her head down at work and spends the weekends with two bottles of vodka.
She speaks to her mother on the telephone on a Wednesday and dreads the call. We are uncertain as to whether her mother is in prison or an asylum. Life ticks by until her works’ computer needs attention and enter one geeky IT man. How he and others break down her barriers is beautifully done. Very slowly we learn more about Eleanor and her past. Very slowly a future develops but once the geek (Raymond) arrives the novel is by no means slow. It becomes a page-turning, compulsive read of great charm.
Jojo Moyes described this book as ''a truly original literary creation: funny, touching and unpredictable. Her journey out of the shadows is expertly woven and absolutely gripping." And we couldn't agree more.
Eleanor Oliphant is happy. Nothing is missing from her carefully timetabled life. Except, sometimes, everything. One simple act of kindness is about to shatter the walls Eleanor has built around herself. Now she must learn how to navigate the world that everyone else seems to take for granted - while searching for the courage to face the dark corners she's avoided all her life. Change can be good. Change can be bad. But surely any change is better than...fine?
If you haven't read this book, please, read it now...find out more about it here.
If you loved this book as much as we all did, then do take a look at some similar recommendations of titles below where the main protagonist also stole our hearts. These are all connected by authors illuminating the vital details which make us human, and are created by writers who make us laugh whilst reminding us of the joy, and the pain, of being alive. Let us know which books you'd add to this list.