I don’t like comparing books. I try my hardest not to have any other book in my head whilst thinking about the story I’m reading, so as not to sully the authors hard work with someone else’s narrative. But whilst reading Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, (EOICF from now on, the title is a bit long for my liking) I could not help but think of A Little Life. If you’ve read it, you’ll instantly think of a tough, emotional read of horrifying detail but that’s not what I mean. (if you haven’t read it, see my review here). My summary of A Little Life was that it strips you down and makes you despair of humanity but then slowly builds you up until you’re marvelling yet again at the kindness of friends and the resilience of the human soul.
In EOICF, we are again reminded that people can be really bloody awful to each other ( I really wanted to use a much worse swear word here as I love swearing and this particular storyline warrants lots of swearing, but I didn’t want to offend anyone) but equally, people can be so kind, and true, and honest and caring. And unlike A Little Life, the horror is kept to a minimum, which I appreciated, especially due to its nature.
I can honestly say this book was one of the the most uplifting stories I’ve had the pleasure to read. It’s funny, the characters are solid, there’s clever interweaving of present and past story telling, I cared about each and everyone of the people who the author Gail Honeyman, has created, I was desperate to find out what happened, I wanted to give some of them hugs. You get the picture. It’s the sort of story which is just joyus to read. It’s fiction of the best kind, not trying to be anything other than a great story, about really interesting and imperfect people.
As for comparing it to A Little life, don’t be put off. Aside from anything else, EOICF is set in Glasgow, which bears very little resemblance to New York City. (discuss)
There’s really nothing else to say. If you like reading and you find people remotely interesting and funny and sad and confusing, you should read it. Sorry not to be any more articulate than that.