Wow! What a book! In a nutshell this book is about loneliness. The book is written from the perspective of Eleanor. We learn more about who she is and her history as the book progresses. Most of the clues seem to come from her interactions with people and what they say to her, as Eleanor is different yet content with not fitting in. She is a creature of habit with little social skills and prefers to keep to herself.
As the book progresses, Eleanor makes a friend and begins a journey of changing herself. Initially this is at a superficial level – clothes, hair etc but without realising it, she is changing how she ‘lives’ – her interactions with others and notion of caring for others and being cared for.
We also begin to learn more about her childhood through the second half of the book, which as the clues suggest in the first half, was not pleasant.
I am amazed at how well this book is written. It could easily be a sad and difficult book to read, yet I think by writing it from Eleanor’s perspective, who does not wallow in self pity or play the victim, it makes the book more about travelling the journey with her instead of being horrified at her life. Instead this book beautifully creates relationships that provide caring and nurturing for Eleanor who has not had these relationships growing up. The beauty of these relationships and interactions helps to balance the revelations of her childhood.
Overall a lovely book, I give it 5 stars and look forward to reading the next book from Gail.