My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Yet another Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick!
Eleanor Oliphant lives a mundane life. Her activities are scheduled. Her food choices are consistent and predictable. She is perfectly put together and proper. Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine. Until she’s not….
That’s it. That’s all the description I can provide without giving away key pieces of the story.
Let me start off by saying that the first half of this book was incredibly boring. It seemed to be done on purpose to illustrate the unremarkable and routine nature of Eleanor Oliphant’s life. And while I appreciate that strategy conceptually, I’ve got to be honest. I probably would not have finishing this book if it hadn’t been a pick from Reese Witherspoon. I likely would have closed the front cover and walked away.
Now before you throw stones at me…. I did finish the book and the second half was extraordinarily better than the first half. The back end of the narrative is where we see everything unravel, getting into the meat of the story, providing some clarity into Eleanor Oliphant’s actions, and seeing her come to terms with events in her life that have led her to where she is today.
Without giving too much away, there is a large focus placed on mental health in this book. And I think that overall it was successful in painting a picture of how crippling and life altering some mental health disorders can be without proper treatment.
From an audiobook perspective, I thought the narrator was spot on in giving Eleanor Oliphant a voice that portrayed her prim and proper nature and I could envision her personality perfectly. I would recommend giving this one a listen, although I’m sure it would be just as good in print.
At the end of the day, I’m glad that I powered through. There were moments when I didn’t think that I would be able to make it, but the conclusion is worth trudging through the slow beginning.