Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
I have just finished this fantastic book and I strongly recommend it not only as a great work of fiction but also for people who are looking for books about mental illness. This book impressed me on many levels. The language is witty, intelligent, and emotionally-charged. The charming, and adorable main characters are brought to life on every page. The plot was surprising with every chapter. And I absolutely couldn’t put it down.
Plot Summary from Amazon:
No one’s ever told Eleanor that life should be better than fine.
Meet Eleanor Oliphant: She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy.
But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become the kinds of friends who rescue one another from the lives of isolation they have each been living. And it is Raymond’s big heart that will ultimately help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one.
Soon to be a major motion picture produced by Reese Witherspoon, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is the smart, warm, and uplifting story of an out-of-the-ordinary heroine whose deadpan weirdness and unconscious wit make for an irresistible journey as she realizes. . .
The only way to survive is to open your heart.
What I love about this story:
Eleanor struggles with mental illness (PTSD and alcoholism) and her symptoms are portrayed accurately and without judgment. The traumatic experience which caused her PTSD is portrayed appropriately and without traumatizing the reader. Eleanor’s friends are supportive and kind.
Eleanor’s darkest moments are portrayed only to show there is hope and kindness of strangers. Is that overly optimistic? Perhaps. But this is better than the alternative or fiction being too dark and traumatizing someone with a mental illness.
The mental health professional in this novel is accurately described. Her office doesn’t have a stereotypical couch, candles, and strange decor I always caution authors against. The truth is–psychologists keep their offices boring. Therapy sessions are described accurately, the book has clearly had an expert advisor. Therapy is helpful, not hurtful, and I commend the author for portraying therapy in such a manner.
THE PROMISE BETWEEN US by Barbara Claypole White — A story about a mother and daughter relationship impacted by OCD.
THIS I KNOW by Eldonna Edwards — Set in the 1960s, it portrays a mother struggling to cope with depression.