A stunning debut. Eleanor Oliphant has learned how to survive – but not how to live
Eleanor Oliphant leads a simple life. She wears the same clothes to work every day, eats the same meal deal for lunch every day and buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink every weekend.
Eleanor Oliphant is happy. Nothing is missing from her carefully timetabled life. Except, sometimes, everything.
One simple act of kindness is about to shatter the walls Eleanor has built around herself. Now she must learn how to navigate the world that everyone else seems to take for granted – while searching for the courage to face the dark corners she’s avoided all her life.
Change can be good. Change can be bad. But surely any change is better than… fine?
I knew as soon as I began reading this book that I was going to enjoy it. Narrated by Eleanor the words just flew off the page as if I was listening to someone right there in the room telling them to me. I loved going on this voyage of discovery with Eleanor, about who she is and is becoming.
Eleanor has built a life and a routine which begins to be broken down - eradicated, until unfortunately she doesn't know who she is anymore. One simple action and it begins to unfold so many avenues for Eleanor. For every laugh there was a moment of sorrow and for that you need to be prepared.
At first I thought Eleanor was much older than her 30 years, she has such mannerisms and ways which belie her youth. She certainly speaks as she finds, meaning no malice, but simply the truth as she sees it. Reminding me of someone on the Asperger's spectrum. If she needs help she just goes to who logically can provide it, putting herself completely in their hands, such as the ladies at the department store and their choice of new clothing for newly acquired social life. Many a time I gasped out loud at some of her nuances and turn of phrase, so entertaining and laugh out loud funny.
I did begin to guess some of Eleanor's past but only towards the end of the book. as she begins to reveal more of true self. I like the way the book ended, just a couple of loose ends. It is rare to read a book in which the voice is so completely of a character that I forgot I was reading a novel, but the author achieved just that for me.
I wonder if we will see more of Eleanor? I do hope so as I would love to catch up with her again some time.
I've thoroughly enjoyed this book and I am giving it 5 out of 5 stars. My thanks to Netgalley for a copy to review.
Amira, Sarah, Paula, Ewan and Charlie have worked together for years - they know how each one likes their coffee, whose love life is a mess, whose children keep them up at night. But their comfortable routine life is suddenly shattered when an aggressive new boss walks in ....
Now, there's something chilling in the air.
Who secretly hates everyone?
Who is tortured by their past?
Who is capable of murder?
I began reading this book and all was as described in the jacket blurb. An office where a new boss arrives and everyone has to be on their toes. Then the book skipped to a character called Anne - a child psychologist who seemed to be in America. Whereas the office was in the UK.
I read on and then it happened again! This seemingly unrelated story that Anne was telling - it was like another book had got mixed up with the one I was reading. I checked the blurb again - definitely no mention of what was turning into a bit of a horror story.
Then we were back in the office again and all the humdrum office life that you will have witnessed if you ever worked in one. Even a team building away weekend.
Suddenly the book began to gather some pace about two thirds of the way through and I realised that these two unrelated stories were in fact going to collide, in a big way. The whodunnit aspect kicked in and I began to try and second guess the answer to no avail.
Ultimately this was a clever if confusing book at times. If you've ever worked in an office you will certainly identify with that part of the book - although hopefully your team building never ended quite like the one in the book.
I'm giving this book four out of five stars. My thanks to Netgalley for a copy to review.
A piece of meat; born to breed; past its sell-by-date; one of the herd.
Women don’t have to fall into a stereotype.
Tara, Cam and Stella are strangers living their own lives as best they can – though when society’s screaming you should live life one way, it can be hard to like what you see in the mirror.
When an extraordinary event ties invisible bonds of friendship between them, one woman’s catastrophe becomes another’s inspiration, and a life lesson to all.
Sometimes it’s ok not to follow the herd.
The Cows is a powerful novel about three women – judging each other, but also themselves. In all the noise of modern life, they need to find their own voice.
This book was a little different, in that main characters didn't directly know one another, unlike most books of this type, where they are all friends. It took me a moment to realise that, but once I had each of them fixed in my mind it was easy to distinguish each character and their voice from the writing.
I did enjoy the book but was a little shocked and surprised by the incident on the train - which I won't reveal so as not to spoil the book. Maybe at 50+ I'm getting too old for this type of book, however apart from that one aspect I was able to relate to the rest of the book.
What I really liked about the book were the strong women characters. The social media aspect and blogging was current and demonstrated the very different world that has been created online, even if we chose not to partake in it ourselves. The judgement that occurred on all levels was a little unsettling and gave me food for thought, and I'm sure some of it will stay with me. I certainly went through several different emotions reading this book and probably did a little judging of my own!
I'm giving this book 4 out of 5 stars. My thanks to Netgalley for a review copy.