First things first: this is a heart-wrenching novel that will make any empathetic person cry. I feel the need to point that out because of all those blurbs (like Reese Witherspoon's) describing the book as so funny. Sure, you might get a laugh or too. But the genre of this story is solidly tragedy, not comedy, and it's a little sick to mislead folks about that because Eleanor Oliphant is not fine, she is utterly crippled by horrific childhood abuse.
Her character is interesting, though, and well written. One of the most refreshing things about this novel is that it is well-edited. One or two slips, but on the whole, adequately prepared for sale (as opposed to, say, The Girl With All the Gifts, the publishers of which owe us all an apology - which, I am positive that Eleanor Oliphant would demand).
Nonetheless, the storyline is not altogether strong. The final 100 pages I was - as one review said - pushing to finish in a single sitting, but only because I had thoroughly lost interest and wanted to finish. It starts strong, with some nice surprises and lovely background details, but then the next steps become entirely predictable. Before reading the last 100 pages, I effectively had finished the story. The author seems to throw in the final surprise as a last ditch attempt to avoid this predictability, but it falls flat. The final surprise of the story contributes nothing to the tale, and feels like an amateur device intended to save the book, but in truth - if the author had left it out, I don't think it would have made an ounce of difference.
One the whole, this was a decent book, but not one I would pass along. Indeed, I accidentally ordered 2 copies and will be returning the second copy rather than gifting it, as I had originally thought I might. Chances are, if you are not excessively triggered by child abuse, you'll enjoy this book. But I am astounded that the book has received more praise than a mild - "Interesting" here and there.