16 reviews

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine: A Novel
by Gail Honeyman

Published: 2017-05-09
Hardcover : 336 pages
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Recommended to book clubs by 15 of 16 members

A Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick

“Beautifully written and incredibly funny, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is about the importance of friendship and human connection. I fell in love with Eleanor, an eccentric and regimented loner whose life ...
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A Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick

“Beautifully written and incredibly funny, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is about the importance of friendship and human connection. I fell in love with Eleanor, an eccentric and regimented loner whose life beautifully unfolds after a chance encounter with a stranger; I think you will fall in love, too!”
—Reese Witherspoon

No one’s ever told Eleanor that life should be better than fine. 

Meet Eleanor Oliphant: She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy. 

But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become the kinds of friends who rescue one another from the lives of isolation they have each been living. And it is Raymond’s big heart that will ultimately help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one.

Soon to be a major motion picture produced by Reese Witherspoon, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is the smart, warm, and uplifting story of an out-of-the-ordinary heroine whose deadpan weirdness and unconscious wit make for an irresistible journey as she realizes. . .
The only way to survive is to open your heart. 

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Discussion Questions

From BBC2 (yes that BBC!):

How do you think you would have treated Eleanor if she had been your work colleague? What do you think the world is like for those who are often seen as ‘different’ or ‘difficult’?

“Today, it was ‘Top of the World’ by The Carpenters. That beautiful voice... she sounds so blissful, so full of love. Lovely, lucky Karen Carpenter.” Why do you think Eleanor described Karen Carpenter as ‘lucky’?

“All the studies show that people tend to take a partner who is roughly as attractive as they are; like attracts like, that is the norm.” Do you agree?

How does the novel deal with the idea of grief? Who does Eleanor grieve for?

“I feel sorry for beautiful people. Beauty, from the moment you possess it, is already slipping away, ephemeral. That must be difficult.” Do you think there is any truth in this? How do you feel about beautiful people?

“If I knew one thing about romance, it was that the perfect moment for us to meet and fall in love would arrive when I least expected it, and in the most charming set of circumstances.” Has this ever happen to you? Where do you think Eleanor has culled this idea from and is this sort of romantic ideal harmful or harmless?

“That’s the thing: it’s best just to take care of yourself.” Is there truth in this?

“I suppose one of the reasons we’re able to continue to exist for our allotted span in this green and blue vale of tears is that there is always, however remote it might seem, the possibility of change.” Is this the main theme of the novel?

“Grief is the price we pay for love, so they say. The price is far too high.” Discuss.

Why do you think Eleanor is the way she is? Do you think this is a result of nature or nurture?

“These days, loneliness is the new cancer – a shameful, embarrassing thing, brought upon yourself in some obscure way.” Do you agree with Eleanor? If you do, why is it the case? How is loneliness viewed by society?

What is the difference between loneliness and being alone? Which of these applies to Eleanor and why?

“Is knowing always better than not knowing?” Discuss.

What do you think the future holds for Eleanor and Raymond? How is their relationship portrayed – is it love? And if so, is it romantic love or platonic love?

With thanks to Bak8382 for posting the link to the questions.--Pauline (founder)

Suggested by Members

How did Raymond and Sammy make a change in her life?
Do you think that Raymond and Elinor will get together later on?
What did you all think of the ending when she finally remembered what happened?
by lrw101251 (see profile) 06/15/18

by Bak8382 (see profile) 01/31/18

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