Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. By Gail Honeyman.

Eleanor Oliphant has learned how to survive – but not how to live. Eleanor Oliphant leads a simple life. She wears the same clothes to work every day, eats the same meal deal for lunch every day and buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink every weekend. Eleanor Oliphant is happy. Nothing is missing from her carefully timetabled life. Except, sometimes, everything.

An enjoyable read with a narrative that speeds along nicely. What the author has captured well is the different perspective neurodiverse people can bring and there were some absolute gems that caused me to laugh out loud. The bit about school sports is particularly good. 

I did get angry as well, on Eleanor’s behalf. Her mum was clearly very mentally ill but nobody knew or helped, or intervened to protect the children. The support Eleanor herself received was very poor. Of course she was going to have mental health issues and struggle with her life, but they left her pretty much alone to deal with it. The letters from the foster carers are heartbreaking, with all their talk of ‘discipline’. It is bad that they weren’t allowed to know her history but at the same time, surely if you foster or adopt you are primed for the child having been through some kind of trauma. Seriously, if you foster a child and they have a major aversion to cleaning or setting the fire wouldn’t you think that just maybe it was a trauma trigger for them?

The one bit that didn’t quite convince me was the attitude of her colleagues. I can understand that they might leave her out due to not understanding her but the level of nastiness was more akin to school rather than grown adults. I don’t know, maybe I have just been surrounded by nice people for so long! I’m sure if she worked at my place of work she would not be treated like that.

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