Book Notes: Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine

We all know I love trashy literature but this novel is pretty much the biggest, most obnoxious pile of garbage I ever read that’s too trashy even for me. It’s the perfect match for the “fashion of the future” I posted about earlier because it’s driven by the same mentality.

The message that the novel delivers with a pounding, aggressive intensity is that if you are traumatized by horrific abuse and have survived extremely painful things, you need to shop.

About sixty percent of the novel’s text is occupied by the descriptions of the female protagonist shopping. Problem is, she shops in the wrong places. She’s obsessed with Tesco, which does not reflect an appropriate degree of self-love. Finally, she realizes she needs to forget Tesco’s cheap wares and buy expensive clothes, boots, and handbags. And instead of buying a carry-out sandwich for lunch she needs to frequent a hipster cafe.

And that’s it! That’s how you emerge from loneliness, overcome trauma, make friends, and become happy. Buy gadgets, buy a ton of makeup, go to beauty salons, and happiness is yours!

Finally, the female protagonist meets a guy who convinces her that she “deserves to have nice things,” buys her fancy cat food for her cat… and true love is born. For real.

All that’s missing – but not for long I’m sure – is to have one-click links right in the text to buy the relentlessly listed consumer goods and services.

It’s not surprising that Reese Witherspoon – probably the dumbest person in the country – loves the book and is making a movie based on it.

I’m now going to go read something smart to recover from this horrible experience.

3 thoughts on “Book Notes: Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine”

  1. I recently read it, largely because it had a character who sounded like they might be on the spectrum. Did not like the book. Its one redeeming quality was the abusive mom. Have you have read any Dan Simmons? I strongly suggest his Hyperion series. I am in the middle of a more recent book of his, Flashback, which actually deals with material you regularly talk about in the blog.


    1. I don’t do sci-fi or fantasy.

      What I hate about books like Eleanor Oliphant is that the author gives the character every “mental illness” she could find in DSM-5 and hopes something sticks. So annoying.


      1. If you are ever in the mood to make an exception, Simmons is someone worth making an exception for. I think you might particularly like Simmons as his books are often plays on classic literature.


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