*If you are new here, WELCOME! For Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, I provide your book club with a brief summary, a recipe, and discussion questions in that order!
Wow. This book. Gail Honeyman, you are amazing. This book dealt with so many HEAVY topics with humor and grace. That’s probably why this was featured for Reese’s Book Club. Rumor has it that Reese (Witherspoon) is planning on making it into a major motion picture soon!
In the beginning, I think it’s safe to say that Eleanor Oliphant is not a very likeable character, but, by the end, I was cheering loudly for her. What a triumphant character and novel. If your book club hasn’t read Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, I highly recommend it. It will surprise you and leave you smiling.
I was actually able to listen to it on audiobook, which was fantastic. I loved listening to Cathleen McCarron’s Scottish accent. She also nailed Eleanor’s sarcasm and the bone-chilling Mummy voice. If you’re able to, I recommend listening to it.
If your book club is reading Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, I’ve created some book club questions and a recipe, so if you’re looking for food ideas and more, keep reading!
Here’s a brief summary of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine:
Eleanor Oliphant is A-OK. Completely Fine. She lives her life just as her rigid Mummy wants and hasn’t questioned anything until uncouth, unhygienic, not-at-all-what-Mummy-would-want Raymond stumbles into her life. When they inadvertently rescue Sammy, an elderly gentleman, one day, Eleanor’s structured life of isolation becomes intertwined with Raymond’s and Sammy’s and more than she bargained for. Ultimately, she must decide if she’ll let Raymond’s big, messy heart into her lonely, hurting one.
For the Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine recipe:
Raymond is the unsuspecting hero in this book. He’s a mess. He always looks like he rolled out of bed. He smokes too much. He uses improper grammar. And, he pulls Eleanor out of her shell.
For this book, I decided to make the cheese scones that Eleanor always orders when she lunches with Raymond. If you’re looking for food ideas for Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, this is a great one. Easy to serve and easy to make. Plus, these scones are fantastic. Light as air and delicious.
I also went out and bought Magners cider to have with my cheese scones. Eleanor declares she doesn’t like cider, but then spends the rest of the book drinking Magners. Of course, it’s Raymond that points out the error of her thinking.
“Cider?” I shouted over the din. “But, Raymond. I don’t drink cider!”
“What do you think Magners is, you daft bint?” he said, nudging me gently with his elbow.-Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, Chapter 24
I will have to say that, personally, I didn’t care much for the Magners, but it was really fun to try it in the context of reading Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. If you can find some, consider serving it as a drink with the cheese scones!
Savory Cheese Scones:
Savory Cheese Scones
- 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 5 tbsp butter salted
- ½ cup milk
- ¼ cup sour cream
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp milk
- 4 ounces sharp cheese
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Sift the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt into a large bowl
- Use a pastry cutter to cut the butter into the dry ingredients or rub with your fingers until the butter is about pea sized in lumps in the mix.
- Place the dry/butter mix into the freezer for 5 minutes to re-solidify the butter.
- Mix milk and sour cream together, then mix into the dry ingredients. Do not over mix. The trick to scones is to mix just until blended. Overmixing will cause dense scones.
- With floured hands, form the scones into 2-3 inch balls. Place on a greased baking sheet and lightly press to flatten the tops.
- In a small bowl, whisk the egg and tablespoon of milk.
- Glaze the tops of the scones with the egg and milk mix.
- Sprinkle sharp cheddar across the tops of the scones.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes until lightly golden brown.
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine Book Club Questions:
*WARNING: May contain spoilers!
- Eleanor Oliphant is a very unique character with some unusual quirks. What was your favorite characteristic?
- In the beginning, Eleanor is portrayed a cold, almost mean, woman but as the book progresses, her layers, and her pain, are revealed. The more we get to know Eleanor, the softer she becomes. How did you relate to this? Do you think that vulnerability opens us up to our true selves? What events do you think were pivotal in this transformation for Eleanor?
- Why do you think that Eleanor felt the need to continue “communication” with her mother? Although her case was extreme, how do you think we allow others’ voices to speak into our lives, especially in a negative way? Why do you think they are the loudest voices?
- When Eleanor finally has her big moment with the rock star (name??), she realizes that he’s not at all what she made him to be. Were you disappointed that this scene happened off page and was only recalled by Eleanor? Why do you think that she was able to so clearly see him for who he was? Why was she finally able to see how deluded she had been?
- Because we are in Eleanor’s head for the book, it isn’t clear what Raymond’s intentions are until the end. Do you think he always liked her or warmed to her slowly over time? Were his first intentions only friendly or did you get the feeling that he pursued her because he was romantically interested from the beginning?
- What was your favorite characteristic of Raymond’s? How do you think he was exactly what Eleanor needed even before she realized it?
- After Eleanor tries to harm herself, Raymond brings her a cat. She immediately bonds with the cat. Just having someone she knows she must care for gives her a renewed purpose. Why do you think this is? How can being needed by another living creature change a person’s world?
- This book carries a lot of weight without being too heavy. The topics of mental illness, child abuse, foster care, suicide and much more permeate the book. Discuss how this book deals with these heavy topics with grace and humor. If you feel led, discuss your own experiences with these topics.
- What part of the book made you laugh out loud (some of Eleanor’s grooming adventures, johnnieLrock’s tweets, Raymond’s emails—are just a few I can think of)? What part of the book made you cringe? What part of the book made you wish to reach out and hug a character?
- Despite Eleanor’s abuse, the book’s message is one of hope as she takes steps to overcome her past. Discuss some of your favorite characters in the book and how they helped her along the way.
- Bonus: Eleanor works in an office where no one seems to really know her. In fact, she’s often the outcast or the topic of conversation. How can we reach out to those around us like Eleanor who might be hurting but have a stifled voice? Think of one person in your life who you know is a “Eleanor” and decide to make the effort to make them feel seen this this week.
Have you read Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine? What was your favorite part of the book? What questions popped into your mind while reading?
Until next time, Happy Reading!
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