‘Elinor Oliphant is completely fine’ turned out to be a good read – we had all enjoyed it to various degrees. Some of the group were very taken with Elinor and her quirks whilst others took longer to warm to her. It came as a surprise that she was only thirty – the initial writing suggested someone older – and that wasn’t the only mislead from the author! Some saw the final twist coming, but not everyone. The book gradually uncovers the dark secrets in Elinor’s past whilst she is turning a corner so the overall feel is optimistic.
We discussed loneliness – so often thought of as a problem of old age, but this really brought home that it can afflict anyone of any age – and we hoped that we would notice and respond positively to others around us. Elinor has built a wall around herself in order to protect herself from further hurt, and she is convinced she really is ‘fine’. She has her routines and she sticks to them. She is naïve and very unaware of how the world ticks and makes faux pas as she is encouraged out of her shell. Although it wasn’t spelt out in the book we also discussed the problems that aspies have in relating to others.
The value of everyday kindness – both to oneself and to others- and the importance of friendship came through.