I had heard good things about this book by Gail Honeyman. It was a quick easy read. But the major flaw for me, was how could she be so naive of the world but, answer cryptic crosswords? This meant I did not find her believable or engage with her. I was not surprised when it turned out, her conversations with her Mother were not real. Was that meant to be a big twist? There is definitely books with unreliable narrators which, have created more suspense and been more shocking.
For me, it seemed unbelievable she had not previously engaged with more people. She was not that adverse to other people. I would have more envisioned that she had, latched on to different people over and over again.
Meeting Declan, letting him move in then staying with him despite, him beating her up, that seemed more in keeping with her character, the need to be loved. But why, not earlier whilst at university had she engaged with people? The book mentions she studied hard, but that does not explain not making friends. If nothing else do not all university courses involve some group projects?
Then at work, it does not seem she had been excluded. She was invited to someone’s wedding reception. She took part in a charity raffle, so engaged with someone to buy tickets and this suggests she would have sponsored people, contributed to leaving presents, gone to Friday night drinks… When she won the tickets, she went with someone from the office instead of by herself so people in the office was prepared to engage with her.
In the author’s Q and A and the back of the book, she describes the book being inspired about articles about loneliness. She mentions about someone saying that from when between leaving work on a Friday night and returning Monday morning, they would not talk to anyone; I can relate to that. Sometimes I have gone home on aFriday night, not expecting to talk to anyone until Monday morning. What was not believable was the book saying, that it was every week. I would have believed it more, if said often went home Friday then did not talk to anyone until Monday. This was sometimes broken up by going out after work for drinks to mark someone leaving, but at the end of the night everyone drifted home to someone, to their normal weekend with regular friends but she only had work people and that was only for during day Monday to Friday possibly at most extended into Friday night. There needed to be more explanation of why she had not engaged more with people from work. It sounded like a sociable place, that had Christmas dos, collections etc… Perhapas it could have been a smaller company and everyone else older with children so could not go out much? Then perhaps expanded and that was the catalyst for Eleanor interacting more?
What was Raymond’s motives for helping Eleanor? Was Raymond just brought up, to be caring by his caring Mother. Or did he want to be romantically involved with her? I thought, that is where the book was going, but it did not end that way. I kind of liked that the book did not end with them getting together and living happily ever after; it acknowledged that Eleanor’s problems would take time to be worked through. I would have liked ending more if, Eleanor mistakenly interpreted Raymond saying he was there for her, as him wanting to be with her. Then Raymond revealing he was gay but, wanted to help her.
I don’t hate the book as much as it may sound like I do. I guess it has made me think. Would I have liked it more, if not had such high expectations?