Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine
by Gail Honeyman
Discussion Questions:

1. Eleanor Oliphant lives a lonely life. She is also strange. Discuss the possibilities for this behavior. Does she behave this way because of her very abusive mother? Does her face scar play into her being reclusive? She has no filter and says inappropriate things at times. Do you think she has a personality disorder like OCC or Autism? How much do you think her lack of social skills play in her wanting to be alone?

2. Eleanor loves routine and order in her life. She has no future dreams for herself. She has had the same job for nine years. She doesn't have any friends. However, she insists everything is fine. Do you think she believes this? She drinks a lot of Vodka- is this a form of escape? If so what does it say about her?

3. Eleanor suddenly decides she has met the man of her dreams when she attends a concert - she falls head over heels for a musician. Why has she chosen someone she has never met. Do you think it's because she feels safe with him? Is this an indication she is not ready?

4. Abusive relationships are life altering. Discuss the damage Eleanor's mother has caused. Why do you think Eleanor continued her weekly phone conversations with her mummy?

5. Why did Eleanor suddenly want to change her outward appearance? Was it only because of her phantom love?

6. Discuss Eleanor's relationship with Raymond the IT guy. What effect did his kindness and acceptance have on her? He was really her first real friend - yet he was so at odds with her beliefs in the way he dressed, ate and communicated. Why did she continue to be his friend? Discuss Raymond's quirks - were they similar to Eleanor's?

7. Discuss Eleanor's relationship with her co-workers and her boss. What was her perception of them initially? In the end? What changed, them or her?

8. Forced by Raymond to help an old man who falls in the street, at first Eleanor is put off and judgmental. Discuss her growth in this area and how this simple task of helping another changed her life.

9. Did this story change the way you think about people who are different or perhaps suffer from mental illness? If so how? Are you more or less tolerant?

*Discussion Questions By PrincetonBookReview.com - Feel free to use with attribution.

Book Club Talking Points:
Eleanor's journey sheds light on mental illness, depression, survivor guilt and how judgmental people can be. It also highlights emotional abuse, physical abuse and child neglect. Society would be all the better to remember some scars are not visible and kindness works wonders. It may also be interesting to debate where Eleanor is on the Autism spectrum - if at all.


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