Tag Archives: adult contemp

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine — Gail Honeyman

7 Oct

 

Publisher: Viking
Released: May 9th, 2017
Genre: Adult contemp
Source: ARC from publisher

 

Meet Eleanor Oliphant. She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully time-tabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy.

Then everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become the kinds of friends who rescue one another from the lives of isolation they have each been living–and it is Raymond’s big heart that will ultimately help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one.

From Goodreads

OMG this book. The writing. Holy crap. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is one of the strongest cases of show don’t tell that I’ve read in a long, long time.

Everything about this book was spot on amazing. The way the author tackles Eleanor’s lack of social skills and her past is to the point and the emotions of the reader comes from the fact that Eleanor is a broken soul but isn’t fully aware of it. Her becoming self-aware is a key theme of the book and one that is handled without any kind of preaching or talking down to the readers.

If you’ve been to this blog before, then you know the damaged, imperfect character is one of my favourite kinds. I am also a huge fan of the everyday character. Both are strongly represented in this book and while all the characters aren’t necessarily always likeable, they are relatable and I really felt for them. (Probably because I saw myself in them.)

There is nothing fluffy about this book at all. It deals with some hard and relatable issues and I think a lot of readers will fall in love with this book. I know I did.

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Eulogy — Ken Murray

27 Jan

eulogyPublisher: Tightrope Books, Inc
Released: July 1st, 2015
Genre: Adult contemp
Source: Paperback review copy from publicist

 

 

 

The controlled and calm life of William Oaks is shattered when his parents die suddenly in a car crash. A reclusive paper conservator at a renowned Toronto museum, William must face the obsessions and denials that have formed him: delusional family history, religious fundamentalism, living with unhappy parents who are constantly bickering, forced starvation, secrets and get-rich-quick schemes. Memory and facts collide, threatening to derail his life and career as William feverishly prepares for an important exhibition on the Egyptian Book of the Dead.

I have to admit when the request to review Eulogy popped into my email, my first impulse was to say no. While the description was interesting, it really didn’t seem like my cup of tea at all. But I decided to take a chance on it. After all it was by a debut Canadian author, and you know I am all about supporting our writers.

Holy Lord frigging Jesus am I ever glad I decided to review it. Eulogy is a heart-wrenching book about love, family, self-doubt and dealing with all the shit that life and relatives can put you through.

I love books where there are no “good” or “bad” characters. Where there’s just people trying to do what’s best with what they have. Sometimes they succeed and sometimes they fail. And sometimes it can be really hard to tell the difference. That’s what I loved so much about Eulogy. All of the characters are damaged in some way or another and it’s just heartbreaking.  And it’s real. So goddamn REAL.

The voice of the main character, William Oaks, describes his current life and the events leading up to it in such a way that it seems very non-judgmental. This lends itself a lot to Murray’s writing, which is beautifully descriptive and never delves into the cliche. Also, Oaks never dips into self pity, although there would be plenty of reason to. Because of this, Murray wrote a believable narrative through the eyes of a character that could be very skewed due to who he is and how he was brought up.

Eulogy was a fascinating read and a quick one for me. Once I started it I felt compelled to finish it. If you like books that tell an amazing story (but a difficult story to read sometimes due to the nature of the content) then Eulogy is right up your alley.