Book Review. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
In my opinion, this is a modern day fairy story focussing on loneliness in a young city dweller. Eleanor, the main character, is an intriguing and engaging young woman who has, against the odds, found a place in society, albeit with limited horizons. She is undoubtedly on the autistic spectrum with obsessive-compulsive features and suffers from social isolation as a result. She is seriously damaged by a disastrous childhood and lacks an ability to fully understand affection. Her conversation is overly formal, with disarming directness.
The story unfolds by introducing minor changes to her well-ordered lifestyle which begin to tip the balance. A crush on a local musician ends traumatically when Eleanor realises that it was all pure fantasy on her part and plummets her into an acute state of despair. To her astonishment, her work colleague, Raymond, cares enough about her to save her from her suicidal situation. Referral to a counsellor allows her to unravel the facts about her damaged childhood. The story ends hopefully with Eleanor finally accepting emotions and embracing friendship for the first time. We wonder whether she has had the courage to try ' the seductive power of sausage rolls' in her blossoming relationship with Raymond.
It is somewhat unbelievable that Eleanor's autistic characteristics, addressed through counselling, have resolved so significantly in such a short time. Barring this and some other unrealistic expectations, the story is a delight and poses some interesting questions about how people who blatantly don't fit in can be helped to lead happy and successful lives in the organised society of today.
This is a heart-warming story that dilutes the more serious aspects of the story with elements of humour. I would thoroughly recommend it.