See how Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine By Gail Honeyman squares up against Plotstormers and the Magical Sixteen Point Plan Of Your Dreams.
🚨 Spoiler palooza ahead! 🚨
A bit of backstory
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine was a massive multi-bestseller back in 2017 after being sold for a “high six figure” deal in four rounds of bidding. Author Gail Honeyman finished the book while working full time, writing after work and in lunch breaks, and then quit her job to finish editing. On release, film rights were immediately snapped up by Reese Witherspoon. What a whirlwind!
Eleanor Oliphant is an awkward, spiky recluse who doesn’t understand a whole lot about doing humaning. She has a strict, grey routine, and her work colleagues find her dull and peculiar. On the weekends she gets blind drunk on vodka and never speaks to a single person.
She becomes obsessed with an arrogant singer, while bumbling IT guy Raymond befriends her. When she realises that the dickhead singer is a dickhead, and confused by the little moments of care and kindness shown to her by Raymond, all her past traumas come crashing down and she tries to kill herself.
She’s saved by Raymond and ends up in therapy where repressed memories of a terrible childhood emerge, in which her abusive mother tried to murder Eleanor and her sister, and succeeded in the latter. Through therapy and Raymond’s humanness, she slowly understands that the past is not her fault and begins to build something of a contented life.
This is a broadly linear story with key points often told in flashback or with foreshadowing. It’s also something of a masterclass in the three act format. So let’s have a look at how the story works, Plotstormers-styleee: