Rating: 5 stars
I originally read this book in February and I finished it in less than a day; I just could not put it down.
Eleanor Oliphant is a loner, she is set in her ways and doesn’t interact well with others. She wins tickets to see a band and immediately falls in love with the lead singer. Eleanor decides this is the man for her and that she will get him.
However to do this, she needs to tidy herself up a little bit and, show him that she is the woman for him.
I was hooked from the moment Eleanor booked in for her wax. I actually think my favourite line in the book is ‘I’m dating a man not a paedophile.’
I am so appreciative of the way in which Gail has portrayed Eleanor. She went through a terrible trauma as a child and was protecting herself by refusing to open up to anybody else.
This book sees Eleanor grow as a person and realise that other people do love her, care about her and want to see her happy. I particularly liked the twist where it turns out the phone calls to her mother were actually in her head. It turns out that she was actually the one holding herself back and, she couldn’t see what everyone else could see.
I think we all have a little bit of Eleanor inside ourselves and, we are all very capable of standing in the way of our own futures.
Why did little gestures (Raymond’s mother making tea without being asked, remembering Eleanor didn’t take sugar, Laura brought two biscuits with coffee for her) mean so much to her? What makes us take these things for granted?
I think Eleanor had never experienced genuine kindness before. Her own mother did not treat her like this. She went from extreme kindness to punishment, so for Laura to simply remember that Eleanor doesn’t take sugar, it must have been a shock for her. I think we’re all used to people treating us the way we want to be treated that sometimes we forget that not everybody is treated with dignity and respect. Not everybody has parents that can provide three meals a day and clothes and, love without having to earn it.
“That’s the thing: it’s best just to take care of yourself.” Is there truth in this?
I think so. If we don’t look after ourselves, we can’t help other people. If you are not 100% physically or mentally, you can’t give 100% to somebody else. When you get on a plane you are always told that in an emergency you put your mask on first, before helping somebody else and, I think this applies to all aspects of our lives. If you are feeling emotionally drained you cannot give 100% to your relationships, because just giving anything is going to make you feel even more exhausted than you already are. You need to take the time to look after yourself so that you can be there for those that care about you.
What is the difference between loneliness and being alone? Which of these applies to Eleanor and why?
For me being alone is being able to immerse yourself your hobbies and activities that you like to do in your spare time. For me that would be reading, others might enjoy video games, TV shows, going to the gym etc. Being alone is making a conscious choice to do your own thing and enjoy your own company.
Loneliness for me is missing social interaction and not having a connection to others, which in turn may make you feel anxious or self-conscience. You may feel like there is something wrong with you because nobody wants to see you or spend time with you.
What do you think the world is like for those who are often seen as ‘different’ or ‘difficult’?
I would like to think that the world is accepting of people like Eleanor but I know this is not the case. I think people would find Eleanor to be standoffish and as such would not attempt to connect with her.
I think sometimes we are all too quick to judge and we stick to those snap judgements rather than taking the time to get to know the person and understand why they come across the way they do.
“All the studies show that people tend to take a partner who is roughly as attractive as they are; like attracts like, that is the norm.” Do you agree?
I think there is several factors to this. I don’t think it is just case of like attracts like. I think there are more factors at play with this. I think our confidence increases if we think we are just as attractive as the person we are talking to and, because of that we come across better in the conversation. If you feel intimidated because of someone’s looks you won’t be as confident when talking to them and, this will impact the outcome.
I also think personalities play a big part as well though. Even if you are equally attractive, if your personalities don’t click the relationship won’t go anywhere.