My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I have been waiting for death all my life. I do not mean that I actively wish to die, just that I do not really want to be alive.
Another winning read for 2021 🤩
This book is divided into three parts: Good Days, Bad Days and Better Days, with Good Days forming the bulk of the novel. It took me some time to get into Good Days but once I did I was completely hooked. The author sets up the story, as well as little snippets about Eleanor’s traumatic past in Good Days, and these snippets are then revealed in Bad Days, a section of the book I completely raced through.
Eleanor Oliphant is like no other character I have ever come across before. She is socially clueless, incredibly lonely, painfully awkward and extremely literal. She has been. through. some. shit. but has little to no awareness of how greatly her past has impacted her. So she soldiers on in life, eating the same meals and wearing the same clothes every day, in addition to her weekly chat with Mummy and her weekend rituals, which include frozen pizza and enough vodka to keep her pleasantly drunk all weekend. Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine … until she is not.
If someone asks you how you are, you are meant to say FINE. You are not meant to say that you cried yourself to sleep last night because you hadn’t spoken to another person for two consecutive days. FINE is what you say.
The thing with trauma is that it is so much easier to pretend it did not happen, because addressing trauma and making the decision to move on from it means reliving it, or allowing yourself to break so you can rebuild. Healing from trauma is hard shit, which is why I resonate so deeply with the quote I started this review with. I have shared, and sometimes continue to share, Eleanor’s sentiments on waiting for death. I know just how painful it can be to address trauma, but I also know that doing so is the only way to achieve the freedom that comes with intentional healing. That is something Eleanor had to learn for herself, with a little help from Raymond the IT guy.
There are scars on my heart, just as thick, as disfiguring as those on my face. I know they’re there. I hope some undamaged tissue remains, a patch through which love can come in and flow out. I hope.
This book is a beautifully written journey into Eleanor’s realisation that just because she has been doing life one way for so long does not mean she has to carry on like that forever. That it is important to not just survive this crazy thing called life, but to thrive!!
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** A guide to ratings **
1 star – did not like it
2 stars – it was okay
3 stars – liked it
4 stars – really liked it
5 stars – it was amazing