Eleanor Oliphant is one of those characters who I find hard to describe in ways that won’t lead you to have the wrong impression. She’s socially awkward, painfully direct and lives a life of isolation outside of her job. There are really good reasons why her emotional growth is stunted and that’s revealed deliberately over the span of the story. When she meets the new IT guy at her job, Raymond, who also has his own brand of social issues, the two of them form their own brand of friendship that slowly develops and leads them out of their self imposed compartmentalization.
I very much enjoyed this story, particularly how it was told…without excessive description and explanation. Eleanor delivers the narrative in her unique way, which provides strong characterization and allowed me to experience her transformation on her terms. The exposure of the events of her past that shaped her future were tragic and not all of the critical details are revealed until late in the story, though I’d guessed most of it.
The narrator was excellent, notably for her capture of Eleanor. It would have been easy to make her a caricature but she was subtle in her delivery. There were so many humorous moments resulting from Eleanor’s frankness and refreshing perspective, which the performance executed perfectly. I loved everything about this book and am even more impressed that this was the author’s debut novel.