Eleanor Oliphant is 30 years old and lives alone in Glasgow. She has a set routine, wearing the same clothes and eating the same food each day of the week, including drinking two bottles of vodka at weekends. She is very isolated, but when she sees a man collapse on the street and goes to help she suddenly finds herself interacting with new people, and gradually her life begins to change.
This was a fantastic read, and at times hilarious. Some of Eleanor’s social observations are hysterical, and I found myself cringing when she spoke with no filter at all. It is also heartbreaking at times, such as learning of the trauma Eleanor experienced as a child, and her descriptions of her loneliness, which were sometimes difficult to read.
These days, loneliness is the new cancer – a shameful, embarrassing thing, brought upon yourself in some obscure way. A fearful, incurable thing, so horrifying that you dare not mention it; other people don’t want to hear the word spoken aloud for fear that they might too be afflicted.
I did find some of Eleanor’s lack of awareness unbelievable at times – for example, I find it hard to believe that she’d have no idea what a high 5 is. However, these are only very minor quibbles. I loved this book and would recommend it to everyone.