Friday, October 05, 2018

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No one’s ever told Eleanor that life should be better than fine.

Meet Eleanor Oliphant: She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy.

But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become the kinds of friends who rescue one another from the lives of isolation they have each been living. And it is Raymond’s big heart that will ultimately help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one.

“If someone asks you how you are, you are meant to say FINE. You are not meant to say that you cried yourself to sleep last night because you hadn't spoken to another person for two consecutive days. FINE is what you say.”

The moment I read the synopsis, I knew that I had to read this book. Eleanor Oliphant is a lot like me - a forever single, socially awkward, office-working adult who is living with depression. While some may not see why I'd enjoy reading about a sad dork like myself, I honestly thought it was rather quite nice not to feel so alone. Representation matters!

I did see some reviews on Goodreads that talked about how mean Eleanor was, but I honestly didn't feel that way about her. True, she was blunt and honest, but I don't feel she ever really meant any harm by how she felt about others. She didn't have much experience with social interaction, and she was raised to think ill of people who didn't meet certain "standards," so I feel that her "meanness" stems more from her naive personality than anything.

It was fun (and often funny!) to see Eleanor transform herself throughout the novel - not just internally, but reading about her purchasing her first computer, or getting her first wax job, or getting her hair cut & styled for the first time and becoming "shiny." Her slowly improving perceptions of Raymond, the "bumbling" IT guy, really made me think about how initial judgments can really keep us from getting to know some great people. I was glad to see her overcome them in the way that she did - over time, rather than all at once.

There were a few turns that this novel took that I was not expecting, and a few that I did, but I won't get into them here. I will say that this was a great depiction of an aspect of depression (everyone's experience is completely different), and I applaud Ms. Honeyman for writing it the way she did. I also appreciate that she had Eleanor realize that there was nothing wrong with going to therapy, and find that it could actually be beneficial to improving your life, rather than something to be ashamed of.

I would honestly give this book 4.5 stars.


Friday, September 14, 2018

{Fanfiction Friday} Leo Inter Serpentes

Friday, September 14, 2018 with No comments

Hello everyone! I know I've been hiding for awhile, and rather than an awkward post about my depression and life, I thought I'd just jump right back in the game. During my blogger slump, I finally caved and decided to give fanfiction a try - and oh boy, I'm so glad that I did! I don't know why it took me so long to get into it. I sort of refused to try it for most of my life, but I was in a really depressive slump at the beginning of the year, and decided to give a Drarry (Draco/Harry) fic a try on a whim, and I have not stopped reading fics since - they've made up the large majority of my reading for the year, in fact. I love that I can just download them to my Kindle for offline reading!

I know I'm late to the whole fanfiction game, but I've come across some real gems, and thought I'd start 'Fanfiction Fridays' to spotlight some of my favorite recent reads. Each week I'll be highlighting a different fic (or series of fics) that I enjoyed reading.

Leo Inter Serpentes by Aeternum
Just one conversation between two eleven year old boys goes slightly differently, and the world changes. Just how much will be different with Harry being sorted into Slytherin, and how much will stay the same? A retelling of the original series, but this time, our hero wears green and silver, not red and gold.
This series was extremely well-written! It basically follows canon, though there are a few small changes that end up completely changing the outcome of the story - the main one being Harry's placement in Slytherin rather than Gryffindor. The trio in this series consists of Harry, Draco and Hermione (who is still a Gryffindor). 

There is (eventual) Harry/Draco slash, which I loved, but my favorite part about this series was the focus on the relationship between Harry and Severus Snape. While Snape starts off the series with his usual contempt for Harry, once Harry is placed in Slytherin, he is forced to realize that Harry is nothing like he assumed he would be, and is more like Lily than he would have thought. Snape eventually grows to like (and even care for) Harry, which eventually leads to him adopting him. As odd as the idea sounds, I felt that Aeternum wrote it in a rather believable fashion. This is kind of the relationship that I would have hoped for them in the series, since they are so much alike. I didn't like that Snape couldn't see past Harry's father in canon, but this series totally made up for that.

A few other fun things about this series that I loved include:

  • Draco's love of language - Harry is able to teach him Parselmouth, he learns Mermish for the hell of it, and even a bit of Gigantus
  • Harry's pet snake,  Ladon, who is snarky, intelligent, and overall wonderful
  • Dobby's crazy outfits
  • The cinnamon-roll/fireball that is Scarlett (an OC Slytherin that I just ADORE!)
Right now there are six "books" in the series, following Harry's first six years at Hogwarts, and the author is currently working on the seventh book. I'm so excited! I don't know when it's set to release, but if it's not any time soon, then I'll probably re-read this series again as a refresher (it's that good).

Have any of you read this series? What are your thoughts? If you have any fanfic recommendations, please let me know - there's so much out there to read! I don't mind what pairings (if any), I'll give anything a try.