I finally joined the hype and read this book after it was gifted to me by a wonderful ‘Bookstagrammer’ called @Charlotte_reads! I simply could not wait to get stuck in since people are always recommending it to me! With a copy of my own, I was ready to see what all the fuss was about.
Eleanor is a twenty-something year old with a dark past and her role as the protagonist of this book is expertly written. Her secret has proved to have quite a detrimental impact on the way she communicates with others and finds herself without many friends or usual life experiences for someone her age. Her character is complicated and the relationships she does have are interesting to explore. Honeyman writes from the first person perspective of Eleanor and the internal monologue is the perfect blend of heartbreaking and amusing throughout. I really recommend this book!
My first impression of this book was that it was just so readable! Honeyman’s writing is really addictive and, with this being her debut novel, I’m really excited to see what is to come next from her!
When reflecting the first half of the book, it does not seem like much actually happens. We get to know Eleanor well and her character becomes really well developed. She is so unpredictable and some of the things she says and thinks are absolutely hilarious. On a deeper level, it is apparent throughout that her struggles in social situations stem from her damaging past – the details of which are not revealed until much later. This leaves the reader guessing which is both gripping but also somewhat frustrating! It also meant that I finished the second half of the book in just one day!
Honeyman explores some important themes through Eleanor’s character but such topics are not as widely discussed as they could have been, in my opinion. Nonetheless, introducing them to the narrative is a good first step to starting a conversation.
So, let’s talk about Eleanor’s relationships.
Throughout the book her character comes into contact with various others, and she responds in such an unpredictable way to each. This plays into just how readable the book is, since you never know what Eleanor is going to say next. Her relationship with her ‘Mummy’ remains a mystery throughout and their weekly catch ups are heartbreaking and shocking for various reasons. Eleanor makes some new acquaintances throughout the book and, without giving too much away, her reaction to others is just brilliant.
As the book progresses, Eleanor finds herself experiencing some of the usual antics of a woman her age. Her commentary on such trivial things – such as department store shopping – is comical and her questioning of why we do the things we do are somewhat relatable.
I loved Eleanor’s character and I feel she was really well formed by Honeyman. The plot, although lacking in part, is deeply moving and incites reflection on how we treat others since we do not always know what happens behind closed doors.
All in all, this book is one that I enjoyed reading. I would not say it lives up to the hype entirely, but I do feel that it’s one of those books where the full impact of reading it can be felt only once it is finished (I hope you can related to that). I’m excited to see what comes next from Honeyman – I really like her writing style and found this book especially addictive.
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