Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine Summary & Study Guide

Gail Honeyman

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

  • 56-page comprehensive study guide
  • Features 41 chapter summaries and 5 sections of expert analysis
  • Written by a professional writer with a Master's degree
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Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine Summary & Study Guide

SuperSummary, a modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, offers high-quality study guides for challenging works of literature. This 56-page guide for “Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine” by Gail Honeyman includes detailed chapter summaries and analysis covering 41 chapters, as well as several more in-depth sections of expert-written literary analysis. Featured content includes commentary on major characters, 25 important quotes, essay topics, and key themes like Loneliness As a Disease and Makeovers and The Power of Self-Acceptance.

Plot Summary

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is a 2017 comic novel about human connection. The title character, Eleanor Oliphant, narrates the story, introducing herself as an office worker with a solitary life in present-day Glasgow, Scotland. Eleanor spends her free time doing crosswords, listening to the radio, drinking vodka, and reading classic literature. She does not socialize with anyone, and her only family is a spiteful mother who calls from prison once a week. One night, while attending a concert, a singer named Johnnie Lomond catches Eleanor’s eye. The singer becomes the object of her intense infatuation and the impetus for an extensive makeover.

Eleanor prepares to meet Johnnie by buying new clothes and makeup, as well as cutting and coloring her hair. She also buys her first home computer in order to conduct research on him. Simultaneously, Eleanor develops a friendship with a coworker named Raymond. Although Eleanor criticizes Raymond at first, the two become intertwined after they witness an older man named Sammy collapse in the street. Raymond and Eleanor visit Sammy in the hospital and become friendly with his family members.

As Eleanor’s social circle expands, she continues to pursue the musician at the urging of her Mummy. Meanwhile, she and Raymond attend parties and have lunch together once a week. They also attend Sammy’s funeral together. Eleanor receives a promotion to office manager at her workplace.

When Eleanor finally attends Johnnie’s, she realizes that her crush is childish and fixed upon an unworthy candidate for her affection. Eleanor’s disillusionment quickly turns dangerous as she goes on a three-day bender, drinking copious vodka and preparing to commit suicide. Raymond, worried when she doesn’t contact their workplace, arrives at Eleanor’s apartment to care for her. Raymond also advises that Eleanor address her mental health with a professional.

Eleanor visits a therapist named Dr. Maria Temple and discloses details about her past, her present, and her feelings. Eleanor takes two months off work to mend from her condition, and she and Raymond continue to have lunch. In therapy, Eleanor reveals more about her traumatic past and the fire that gave Eleanor the distinctive scars on her face and placed her in foster care as a child. During her weekly calls, Eleanor’s Mummy warns against speaking about her childhood with the therapist.

Eleanor returns to work and receives well wishes from her boss and her coworkers. In a series of recovered memories, Eleanor realizes that she had a sister named Marianne. Marianne perished when their Mummy tried to kill them both in a house fire. As she grieves the sister she lost, Eleanor also decides to cut off communication with her Mummy. Eleanor and Raymond research the fire, revealing that not only did Marianne perish in the fire, but their Mummy did as well. Eleanor admits that she has pretended her Mummy was calling her for many years. She ends the story with hope in new beginnings at work, in relationships, and in herself.

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