#Book Reviews: Three Awesome Novels I’ve Read This Year

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
by Gail Honeyman

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I finished reading this novel weeks ago and still can’t think of a way to praise it highly enough.

The main character, Eleanor, has her routine — work, home, a limited wardrobe, a functional diet, and two bottles of vodka to get through each weekend. Often her social and communication skills aren’t in accord with other people, but I loved her bluntness and lack of awareness that her honesty might not go down well at times, plus her nerdiness; she’s a veritable mine of information. In both these respects, she reminded me a bit of Saga in the Nordic crime series The Bridge and, as with Saga, many of her comments caused me to laugh out loud, more so for being justified more often than not.

This is a story where the main protagonist starts out lonely, damaged, and with serious trust issues, but who slowly learns to believe in herself with the help of a few people who show her a huge amount of kindness and the meaning of true friendship, especially her work colleague Raymond from the IT department upstairs.

Gail Honeyman’s writing style is accessible, fluent, and pleasing, and it doesn’t surprise me at all that this, her first novel, won the Costa Book Award last year and has been in The Sunday Times Top ten Paperback for many months.

This book is an absolute must read…

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How to Stop Time
by Matt Haig

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I’m glad to have discovered that this well-known, prize-winning children’s author also writes fiction for adults. How to Stop Time isn’t a standard time-travel novel, although it jumps backwards and forwards between various points in history. It’s about a man who has a syndrome that prevents him from aging. At first, he thinks his condition is unique to him, until he discovers there are others like him.

The story explores how it feels to be different, and how people at various times in history have treated people who don’t fit the norm; the dangers, the loneliness, and, in the case of this novel’s main protagonist, the problems with forming a longterm attachment with another human who has a comparably short lifespan.

The novel is easy to read, gently humorous, sad in places, but seeks to find the best in humanity. I liked it well enough to buy another novel by the same author and read it straight after this one.

A recommended read, if only that it won’t leave you exhausted and the author has a writing voice that fills you with warmth.

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The Humans
by Matt Haig

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

The Humans by Matt Haig is an absolute delight. It’s about an alien who’s sent on a mission to replace/pose as a university professor of mathematics and suppress the prof’s cracking of a formula that would advance humanity in a way which could prove dangerous to extra-terrestrial civilisations across the galaxy.

Although this sounds like the makings of a science fiction novel, I would not class it as such. It’s more about people and their relationships with one another in their daily lives and how, despite all their flaws, they’re worthy of a place in the universe.

The alien looks exactly like the uni prof and knows his mathematics, but that’s where the similarity ends. As he learns to be human, his adoptive “wife” and “teenage son” can’t believe the positive change that has come over the once cold and arrogant husband and father.

I don’t want to say anything further about the story, to avoid any spoilers, but I read this at a time when I was feeling extremely negative, if not depressed about the human race, and Matt Haig helped me look for and rediscover the good in people once more.

A highly recommended read, that’s quirky, funny, moving, and possibly good for your mental health!

Author: Sarah Potter Writes

Sarah is a British eccentric who writes offbeat fiction, haiku and tanka poetry. She's into nature, gardening, and natural health. Her sociability is something that happens in short bursts with long breathing spaces in between.

11 thoughts on “#Book Reviews: Three Awesome Novels I’ve Read This Year”

  1. Wonderful! Thanks for the reviews. I somehow have slipped out of the habit of reading these past few months. Odd that that happened. But I really need to return to my quiet time and a good book, so these reviews come at quite a good time.

    Thank you again! Wishing you a spectacular weekend!

    bill

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Reading has kept me sane this year! At the moment, I’m immersed in an incredibly long Stephen King novel, and when I’ve finished that, I’m going to tackle a non-fiction history book that I recently won in a Goodreads giveaway draw. I’m not that brilliant at staying awake reading non-fiction, but the subject matter is interesting although somewhat disturbing.

      My dear friend, promise me you’ll get reading again, lest you fall out of the habit permanently, just as I have to order myself to get writing again.

      Wishing you a wonderful weekend, Bill. We’re having a totally sizzling June. The weather is just beautiful and my flowers, although thirsty, are exceedingly abundant.

      Like

      1. I quite like to record a whole series and then watch it, but have to warn people not to tell me anything about it that would amount to a spoiler. My daughter has watched all of the second series of “The Handmaid’s Tale”, but I’m watching it as each episode is shown on TV, so she has been forbidden to discuss anything but the episode I’m on. The same thing happened with “Outlander”, all three series, which I watched on Amazon (for free, as I’m on Prime). There’s only so much binge-watching I can do, but admit to watching the last three episodes of Outlander (series 3) back-to-back.

        Like

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