NOVEMBER BOOK CLUB REVIEW!
GUYS!!!!! I really hope you read this month's book club selection Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman! I literally could not put it down... not even joking I read it all in one sitting! If you remember when we first started the book club, my friend Stephanie DeLuca from Melville House Publishing said this about the book:
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman may be the buzziest book club novel that's out there right now. It's really sweet and funny and heartwarming and also will make you cry a bit. Eleanor is super quirky and a total weirdo but also good hearted. It's a very original story, I've never read a character like Eleanor. She's really the heart of the book. I think some of the humor is a bit subtle in how weird Eleanor is and some people may miss that, but if you're a close reader you should appreciate it.
I have to agree 100% with Stephanie, I have NEVER read a character like Eleanor. I was pleasantly surprised by how authentic she was as I read the world through her eyes, and how I was instantly drawn to her character - both sympathizing with her but also pitying her. She really takes it to a whole new level with the way that she acts in her personal, work and home life! I find it so interesting how her life is planned to a T, but is still essentially empty. The book brought up so many questions about loneliness, isolation and deep-rooted sadness. I don't want to give too much away because I know some of you have not finished reading yet, but the twist at the ending of the book really surprised me. Were you surprised, or did you see it coming? One thing I took away from the book is that, like Eleanor, it is never too late for any of us to have our "happy ending." Let me know in the comments if you think she TRULY got her "happy ending!"
Here are some Reader Questions that I think would be fun to discuss together! Some are from the back of the book and others are questions I've come up with or found through other book clubs! Leave your point of view in the comments!
1. Knowing the truth about Eleanor’s family, look back through the book to revisit her exchanges with her mother. Did you see what was ahead? How did Honeyman lay the groundwork for the final plot twist?
2. Eleanor is one of the most unusual protagonists in recent fiction, and some of her opinions and actions are very funny. What were your favorite moments in the novel?
3. 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’?
4. “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?
5. “Did men ever look in the mirror, I wondered, and find themselves wanting in deeply fundamental ways? When they opened a newspaper or watched a film, were they presented with nothing but exceptionally handsome young men, and did this make them feel intimidated, inferior, because they were not as young, not as handsome?” Eleanor’s question is rhetorical and slightly tongue-in-cheek, but worth answering. What are your thoughts? If men don’t have this experience, why not? If they do, why is it not more openly discussed?
6. Eleanor is frightened that she may become like her mother. Is this a reasonable fear? What is the balance of nature and nurture?
7. Eleanor says, “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." Why is this the case?
8. What is the difference between loneliness and being alone? Which of these applies to Eleanor and why?
9. “Is knowing always better than not knowing?” Discuss.
10. 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?