I closed the last page on this beauty yesterday, and I was sad. How could a book this good actually come to an end?
From the very beginning I was fixated with the main character, Eleanor, a twenty-nine-year-old, set in the odd ways she goes about her business. Her routines, her likes, her dislikes. The characterisation Gail Honeyman employs is incredible. Eleanor’s voice is sharp and clear throughout the whole story, keeping you with her and routing for her.
She’s far from ordinary, but also so totally ordinary that she’s relatable. Maybe we don’t all sink a few bottles of vodka over the weekend, or go days without a human interaction, but the principles are there and we can relate, along with hard hitting themes. Loneliness. Depression. Social awkwardness. The pages encourage it all. So much so that I couldn’t put it down.
She’s a complete creature of habit, so seeing her unhinge throughout the story keeps you turning the pages for reactions and her awkward emotions.
With her unusual appearance, including an eczema glove and a scar on her face left by her mother, she’s perceived as a loner. The only contact she has, other than with the people she’s always worked with and the man in the local off license, is a weekly phone call with ‘Mummy’, who’s in prison for an unknown crime.
Then we meet Raymond, someone Eleanor works with.
Slowly and surely, the cracks of the past start to fill, and Eleanor – with the help of Raymond – addresses her childhood, and the reasons why she is the way she is.
It’s a book that will no doubt speak to introverts, those who are unsure of themselves and their quirks, and those looking for someone just like them.
The book is bold, moving, and original.
With such skilled writing, you can’t help but follow Eleanor’s journey and feel familiar with it from the off. To say it’s a debut is insane. Hats off to you, Honeyman. You are ace. Eleanor is ace. I blooming loved it.