Episode 13: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Download Episode 13

In This Episode

The Book Evangelists discuss Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Morning Chatter

We haven’t talked about books as recently as we had hoped we would. We are very glad to be talking about books with each other now. Camp NaNoWriMo is happening, and writing is hard right now.

Book News! The Hugo finalists are announced and we are very pleased to have read so many of the nominees!

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

The description of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine from goodreads.com:

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 unnecessary human contact, 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, the three rescue one another from the lives of isolation that they had been living. Ultimately, it is Raymond’s big heart that will help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one. If she does, she’ll learn that she, too, is capable of finding friendship—and even love—after all.

Smart, warm, uplifting, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is the 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.

This blog post is spoiler-free. On the podcast, we discuss Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman in detail and our discussion in the podcast is filled with minor and major spoilers, so please read the book before you listen if you are into that kind of experience. We’ll be here for you when you finish!


Lissa’s favorite quote from the book Elinor Oliphant is Completely Fine
Marian liked this choice from among Lissa’s favorite quotes. Lissa liked this quote because someday when she is ready for dating, she hopes she is slightly less awkward than Eleanor.

More Discussion

Book Marketing: Who is this book for? How much do we trust genres or cover blurbs? How does our expectation match the reality of the book? Should readers be warned about issues books? How do readers react to books when they get into the story and find that they aren’t ready for this particular book?

Writing “Unlikeable” characters

  • Is Eleanor relatable?
  • Is she realistic?
  • Did your feelings about her change over the course of the book?
  • Who does it seem like Eleanor is modeled on?
  • How are characters informed and inspired? How much does the reader bring to their unique interpretation?
  • How unreliable is Eleanor as a narrator?

“I liked the sad parts. They helped me have my feelings. That’s what books do.”

Lissa describing …. pretty much the entire book

Nobody’s ever in a finished place.

Marian describing…very smart things about the theme of this book and also real life.

Coming Up

Next episode: Marian and Lissa are looking at the popularity of the novella as a form and a length. As longtime NaNoWriMo writers, we both familiar with what a 50,000 word story can do. We will read and discuss All Systems Red by Martha Wells and Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey.

Our Show Notes include mentions and recommendations, all linked for your convenience. What else would you like to see here? 

Music Credit: The music used during transitions in our podcast is adapted from: Jazzy Sax, Guitar, and Organ at the club by Admiral Bob (c) copyright 2018 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/admiralbob77/58382 Ft: geoffpeters

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