Sunday, 8 April 2018

5 things I loved about Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

After seeing everywhere on social media I finally bought and read Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. It is honestly one of the best book I've read in years and it resonated with me in many different ways. Here are 5 things I loved about it.

1) It adresses depression in a sensitive and educated way. I think it's great to see a work of fiction describing what depression can feel like in a realistic way and how it can be treated. Literature is a powerful educational tool and Eleanor Oliphant seems like the perfect text to open up a dialogue.

2) It describes loneliness and its downward spiral. The less you see and connect with people, the less you want social interactions. The book also reminds us that it's possible to feel alone in a crowd because small talk can be very mechanical and meaningless. However, finding kindred spirits with whom one can relate and have authentic, valuable exchanges is the way to go.

3) It celebrates solidarity and the power of human interactions. Eleanor and Raymond are such a cute pair and it was really moving to see them discover each other. Raymond's unconditional support of Eleanor reveals how important it is to be able to rely on someone when dark times come around. Human beings are not meant to live solitary lives.

4) It highlights the necessity not to judge people too quickly and to look beyond appearances. You never know what lies beyond the façade of a so-called freak. Eleanor is a lovely person, but people seem to stop at her unfashionable clothes and her overly good manners. I loved how Raymond acts without any prejudices and just treats Eleanor like he would treat anybody else.

5) It tells of the importance to deal with traumas and take care of our mental health. We are all dealing with our own bad experiences or tragedies. Off course, Eleanor's life path isn't ordinary at all and quite extreme. Nonetheless, many people have or have had to face a complicated relationship with a parent or a friend, an abusive or violent partner, a divorce, the loss of a loved one... These events shape who we are and can often affect our behavior and personality, not to mention our mental health. It is thus importance to acknowledge them and make sure they do not become a burden. 

I like to think of Eleanor as a new type of heroine. She isn't "cool", she's socially awkward, depressed and some might even call her uptight or say she has a drinking problem. But she's moving and funny. She seems like a real person with flaws, wounds and a story. I wish more novels revolved around introverted characters who have trouble opening up, and shed a positive light on them.

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