ELEANOR OLIPHANT IS COMPLETELY FINE. (WITH SPOILER ALERT)
I finally got this out of the library. I was quite looking forward to reading it as it has had a lot of positive hype.
The first page put me off a bit as I didn’t fancy another dysfunctional female protagonist. By half way through “The Girl On the Train” I was ready to murder her myself, she was so annoying.
Anyway, I kept going, of course and was really enjoying it. Quite jealous to be trueful. A first novel and doing so well.
The faux love affair with the singer was a little implausible, considering she was a grown woman and the author had gone to great lengths to make her a very logical person. This was one of the reasons that I liked the character. Her observations on modern society were quite amusing.
Then we get to Raymond, still good. Helping the old man. New life possibilities opening up. The author doesn’t seem to be able to decide if Raymond is really a bit average in most ways, (see his relationship with the lovely Laura), or that Eleanor only thinks he is. Or maybe, I missed something vital.
Then the final quarter of the book, the crying, the mushy-wushy, lovey-caring scenes rise exponentially till I started to feel the first tiny threads of boredom permeating my reading. And every time Mummy appears I have this horrible growing feeling that she might not be real for some reason. “Surely she’s not going to pull out the hoary old chestnut of the dead mother is she?” I ask myself. Hasn’t she seen Psycho?
Then she did, (well no mummified corpse I admit). So no, that was a step too far. Mummy would have been much better, in my opinion, being a real living character making real phone calls.
The ‘Sense and Sensibility’ name connection a bit obvious too, but, just in case it wasn’t, she pulls out a copy to read.
So yes, a good attempt at a first novel. But I’m not jealous any more. (Except for the sales!)
I think it’s OK to ask your readers to suspend belief up to a point but when the inconsistencies start to pile up there comes a point when you have overdone it. I don’t know what sort of ‘Book of the Year’ it is, but it wouldn’t be mine. Having said that, it’s got lots of good bits so have a read anyway.
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