Not everyone is blessed with the ability to easily interact with others. For some of us, the scariest thing we can do is talk to people.
In the 2017 novel, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman, the title character, Eleanor Oliphant is not exactly a social butterfly. Awkward with a capital A, Eleanor often blurts out what she is thinking, has no social life and keeps to her regimented weekly schedule as if she was in the military. The only conversations she has are the most basic greetings with her colleagues and her weekly phone conversations with her mother, which are not exactly the most uplifting.
Then she meets Raymond, the new hire in her company’s IT department. Raymond is as awkward as Eleanor is. When they save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on sidewalk, something changes for her. With the help of her friendship with Raymond, she may learn to move on from her past and open her heart.
This book was recommended to me by a friend. It is one of the best books I have read in a very long time. From nearly the moment that I started reading this book, I knew who Eleanor was because I understood her. It’s nice to read about a heroine who lives with social anxiety, mental illness and emotional hardships that come with carrying the weight of those obstacles on your shoulders. I also appreciated that Raymond is not a paragon of perfection, a prince charming type who “rescues” the heroine by seeing her inner beauty.
I absolutely recommend it.
P.S. The book is being made into a movie. Reese Witherspoon is one of the producers. This is one movie that I will be waiting in line on opening weekend to see.
Seeing a woman in the halls of power is relatively new in the course of human history. At best, in the past, women have been help-meets, wives and servants. At worst, they are disposable to relegated the background of history.
The new movie, Mary Queen of Scots (based on the book Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart by John Guy) takes place in the 16th century, when two women ruled England and Scotland concurrently. Elizabeth I of England (Margot Robbie) has successfully ruled England without questions of her legitimacy to the throne. The only issue that she is without a husband and a child. Her cousin, Mary Stuart (Saoirse Ronan) has recently taken her place as Queen of Scotland after the passing of her first husband. She knows that she has to marry and bring a male heir into the world, but she is not willing to marry for the sake of politics.
Both Mary and Elizabeth wish for peace between their kingdoms, but the men who council both Queens are not content to bow before women, nor are they willing to let two women maintain a political friendship. Around them, the seeds of discord are being sewn. Will Mary and Elizabeth rule their respective countries in peace or will the interference of the men around them result in upheaval and violence?
It takes a certain kind of BPD (British Period Drama) to appeal to a wide range of audience members. While Mary Queen Of Scots falls squarely within the BPD genre, it has a specific message that appeals to a certain kind of audience member. While I very much appreciate the timely message of women in power and how we react/treat them, this film is a bit on the heavy side when it comes to the narrative.