Submitted by [deleted] t3_116z166 in books

I simply couldn’t finish it. I mean, I tried. I looked at all the reviews and ratings here and decided to take up this book. Terrible mistake. I initially blamed my inability to finish this book on my reading slump. But that’s not it. I realised later that reading this book had become more of a chore for me. Getting into Eleanor’s head never gave me any joy. It was just very sad and boring.

Eleanor Oliphant was a very hard character to relate with. At least, in my case. And reading the whole thing from her p.o.v was very frustrating. Her cynical, judgmental take on everything, her constant need to criticise people and point out how smart or better she is - it was just not my cup of tea. And I couldn’t find any redeeming qualities in her.

I’ve heard that it’s very much like “A man called Ove” which I don’t think is true. Ove might be grumpy, but he had so many redeeming qualities. I really liked him as a character. He might be rough around the edges but it was very obvious that he was a really loving man. Even from the initial chapters. So I wanted to stick around and wanted to know more about him. He’d sputter about, and hold petty grudges but he’s actually a cinnamon roll deep inside.

I can’t say that about Eleanor. Her obsession with this musician, who’s apparently the love of her life, her constant criticism of people in her mind and how she’s totally above all this- it was too much for me. And I didn’t feel like sticking around anymore. Maybe things will change. I’m sure there’s a reason why she’s the way she is. Maybe she’ll redeem herself later in the book. But I don’t want to go back inside her head. Again, it doesn’t give me any joy like I said. It’s just too normal and boring and mundane.

I know people are going to come at me for saying this. But hey, this is just my opinion. And you’re entitled to yours.



You must log in or register to comment.

jefrye t1_j99vls4 wrote

I liked it, but I like reading about deeply flawed characters. Eleanor isn't an easy character, but she felt three-dimensional and was easy to empathize with.

I also appreciated that the author gave her real personality issues (and fairly unusual ones at that) instead of making her mostly perfect with a token "flaw" that isn't actually that important in the name of believability, which seems to be the approach that many contemporary authors take.


Wingkirs t1_j9akpbr wrote

Exactly. Her mental health issues weren’t glamorized.


RakeishSPV t1_j9d1jao wrote

Really? I feel she reads like what a majority of Redditors would like to think of themselves as, down to the lack of self awareness and victimhood. I think that probably explains a large part of its popularity as well.


Thekittysayswhat t1_j9au14e wrote

It's a book about trauma, abuse, and mental illness. The fact that you can't relate to Eleanor is a good thing. Use it as an opportunity to practice empathy.


Any-Mango-7087 t1_j9azfcx wrote

I read this post and felt kind of jealous that the OP couldn’t relate to her! I absolutely loved this book and related to Eleanor so much.


drewfarndale t1_j99opdf wrote

All your issues with Eleanor are resolved in the final chapter. If you don't want to reach the end of the journey that's fine tho. There is real joy at her redemption. Find out a bit odd you complain about her being boring and mundane because that's precisely the point, she is, but through unexpected friendships this changes too.


Kinkfink t1_j9a7xm7 wrote

I've read this book, and although it never really stayed with me, it sounds like something completely different from my experience with it. She's not a perfect character to be sure, but... that was kind of the point? Not every main character should be likeable, just like not every book should be finished if you're not enjoying it.


Wingkirs t1_j9aklvy wrote

I loved it because Eleanor felt real to me. The authors depiction of mental health was very authentic.

But I understand it’s not for everyone. Eleanor isn’t likable— that’s the point.


TheChocolateMelted t1_j99vt6r wrote

I'll agree that the character development is a bit slow moving. Didn't mind this personally. Although I understand if you don't enjoy it.

The friendship between Eleanor and her male colleague is worth sticking around for. It's surprisingly satisfying to read and extremely patiently and maturely handled. I've rarely actually come across something like this, or at least one that was brought off so smoothly. Unsure whether you're at the point of seeing that really develop, but personally found it was extremely satisfying.

The book does build up towards a strong conclusion, one that I would consider to pay off, but it's more than understandable if you find that it's taking too long to get there, especially with the difficulties of Oliphant's character.

And finally - Good on you for recognising it if you're not enjoying it. Sounds strange, but that's not always easy to do.


bprsmyth t1_j99a7ne wrote

I completely agree. I love Ove and did not even finish Eleanor. I skimmed and speed read so I know what happened but nope it was not for me. I have been told the audio is better but was not about to go through that again to try it.


thfclofc t1_j9ayj3s wrote

If a book hasn’t got me intrigued by page 40 then I don’t continue. Life is short.


inscopia t1_j9iqaaj wrote

I also give 100. I have ended up enjoying many books which I would have otherwise discarded.


IvyKWKatz t1_j99eiru wrote

One of the rare books I couldn't finish. I just didn't understand where it was going and she had no development to indicate a plot.


mind_the_umlaut t1_j9b2tpc wrote

I found that the focus of the book was more on her coping behaviors (for self-preservation) and thoughts she developed over time in order to survive traumatic events in her childhood. We begin the book with as little insight as she has into why she's judgemental and solitary, as well as fantasy-driven with the musician. But the clues are revealed to us readers, and I found myself thinking... 'ohhh, this must mean that she experienced...' and more of her past is revealed. The supporting characters are also charming. I listened to the audiobook, and the Scottish accents were marvelous.


vietnams666 t1_j99qr02 wrote

Oh my god what a slog to read! I didn't even finish it!


Previous_Injury_8664 t1_j9aa1nv wrote

I didn’t find either book unreadable but I didn’t really care for Ove or Eleanor.


laursters2 t1_j9b7sgc wrote

I agree. I see this book recommended a lot and I just did not enjoy it. I related to Eleanor and I made it to the end of the book, but if I could go back in time I would DNF and read something else instead. Just not for me!


killingv t1_j9aru5s wrote

Extremely boring book


Rabo_McDongleberry t1_j99cesb wrote

Totally agree with you. I couldn't go past 20%. She's just not a likeable or relatable character for me.


Peacebandit t1_j9b2lyw wrote

I’ve tried to read it multiple times, both in print and audiobook. Can’t get more than 25% through.


Whatstheretosay44 t1_j9brjzk wrote

A terrible mistake? A terrible mistake is when something you do leads to suffering or death. You just bought a book you didn’t like. Settle down.


RndmBrutalLoveMaster t1_j9c9s45 wrote

SPOILERS ABOUND (for a completely different book, sorry everyone!!!)

I hated that book too. I actually hate-read it to the end and ... imo it never redeems itself. Eleanor Oliphant makes no sense as a character. One of the pleasures of reading a book is getting inside a character's head, but I felt completely outside of her mind, watching her make weird, senseless decisions, for seemingly no reason, with no insight from Eleanor herself or any narrator or anything. The whole point of the story, I guess is that she murders her father... and then is wracked with guilt. Just, what?? And people are saying she's flawed but believable? No one does what she did. Maybe like one person somewhere did something like it once.

The part that really mystified me somehow was when she housesat for her neighbor and spilled some coffee on the rug, so she had the whole rug steam cleaned and she cleaned up the house on top of that. And then her neighbor came back and was super offended and stopped talking to her and Eleanor's like, "Whaaaaa....? I don't uNdErStAnD..." I guess if you like armchair psychology, you could sit there and come up with literally any reason she would do that, but I think that's super lazy on the author's part - come up with reasons your characters do weird shit, and then commit. Don't just have them do weird shit and leave your readers to make up reasons for it, justify it in their mind, and then be condescending and rude to people like you who post online about how they didn't get it, saying "well she has real issues - she's not perfect with one flaw like the protagonists in all the YA books I read, she is super flawed all the way through, this is LITERATURE."

Anyway, I'm with you - on top of all of the unbelievable actions/flaws of Eleanor Oliphant, it was ultimately boring somehow?? I think it's a lack of psychological insight and just a narrative full of drudgery. Compare with Ottessa Moshfegh whose characters are incredibly flawed, and maybe unbelievably weird, but somehow believable anyway, and interesting the whole time.


mrssymes t1_j9cw1gf wrote

I don’t think this is the same book I read. The book never mentions her father and the house sitting thing isn’t in the Eleanor Oliphant version I read.


RndmBrutalLoveMaster t1_j9cx8i8 wrote

OMGGGG I mixed up my books!! Haha! What did I read... Oh shit, It's Edie Richter is Not Alone; I had to check my goodreads. Thanks for setting me right on that! Apologies to everyone.


mrssymes t1_j9cxfa5 wrote

I wasn’t sure if you were mixed up or kind of trolling people or what. I actually went and looked it up and thought to myself “did I read so fast over some small mention that I missed that information?”


RndmBrutalLoveMaster t1_j9cygea wrote

I should have double checked because I did think maybe I missed something in the book too, but had hate-read it so fast (and obviously a while ago) and was so excited about an opportunity to vent that I just ignored the instinct to double check.


IAreAEngineer t1_j9ch7sd wrote

We all take different impressions of the books we read. You are allowed to dislike it!

Some of the weird advertising refers to the book as hilarious. ????

No way, it's about a woman who is probably not neurotypical, dealing with an awful past trauma.

Her behavior is not so good, e.g., stalking the musician. I can still sympathize with her. I would say that the past trauma does not explain all, I think she was autistic.

At the end, she is healing, so that explains the title.


elizabeth-cooper t1_j9ak4gx wrote

A Man Called Ove was stupid from beginning to end and Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine started well but was ultimately disappointing.

I preferred the similarly themed The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend.


CiciMcGee45 t1_j9c88m9 wrote

I loved Eleanor. It makes more sense once you know more about her past. She’s redeemable. Just traumatized.


charliecat_bnim t1_j9dfye1 wrote

This was me reading the book. I couldn't even finish it because of how bad it was.

so 100% understand what you mean!!


caughtyouin4kbestie t1_j9dsvxi wrote

This book was very ho hum to me.

I’ve read so many like it before that I was just bored by it all.

It wasn’t bad but it just seemed unoriginal to me.


Additional_Speech164 t1_j9dwacd wrote

I found it started out promising but the sum of the story just didn’t quite add up. Of course she falls in love with the other “ Main character” and gets over her trauma with the first therapist. Predictable and not a lot of substance imo.