If I were an essay writer, I could easily write one about this book, and then a separate essay on the fact it has become a micro-trend on Instagram over the last few months. Alas, I’m just a basic blogger, so a review will have to do.
This book has divided opinions left, right and centre – and I can see why. For the first few pages, if not chapter, I hated it. Like really hated it.
It follows the main character Eleanor, who I found to be cold, difficult and at points plain rude. Stubborn as I am though, I ploughed ahead and I am so glad I did!
Looking back, the fact the book was difficult to get into, could just be a sign of the genius of Gail Honeyman. Although the book touches on many ideas, the main theme is loneliness. Just like the novel itself, many of the other characters find Eleanor odd and hard to deal with. So they don’t. They exclude her and ignore her. They make jokes when they think she can’t hear.
When we see headlines about loneliness, it’s easy to conjure up images of house bound pensioners or young kids that are being bullied at school. We often overlook the “normal” people. Adults who live in a town or a city, speak to their family regularly and work full time… but are desperately alone. The person everyone assumes is fine.
I really want to talk about this book in detail, but at the same time I don’t want to risk dropping any spoilers. You’ll just have to trust me when I say you won’t see the plot twists coming. At all.
This is easily the best book I’ve read in a long time. And despite reading it whilst basking in Greek sun, when I finished the final page I felt a little bit lost. A little bit down because I didn’t want it to be over. I wanted to carry on watching the characters grow and heal – I wanted a non-creepy live stream of Eleanorand the others.
Whilst it is well written, and undoubtedly a great story this book is so much more. It’s a reminder that people don’t always mean to come across the way they do. A reminder that we never know what people are going through, or have survived. A reminder that a small act of kindness, even just an acknowledgement or short chat, can go such a long way.
In the words of Plato“be kind, everyone is fighting a hard battle.”