Book Review: Straight Up, No Ice

Eleanor Oliphant: A book review

  • Five Stars
  • Book from Reese’s Bookclub
  • Quick and Inticing Read!

A truly uncomfortable misfit trying to fix herself.  A terrible incident in Eleanor’s past has her guzzling vodka like a fish and bottling up her guilt tighter than a drum.  She really is a mess!  What will Mummy think when she calls to check in?

Parts that drove it home for me:


For a good portion of the book, Eleanor is focused on “fixing” herself.  She thinks she needs to spruce up a bit for the project she’s working on.  She doesn’t see the logical need for beauty until it becomes a means to an end.  When comparing herself to a beautiful woman, Eleanor calls herself dull and beige where the other woman is “shiny.”  One of the improvements she makes is a new hair-do.  A new friend (a hairstylist) helps with this and the result is beautiful.  When she sees herself for the first time after the trim and color, Eleanor exclaims, “You made me shiny, Laura…”


The smallest acts of kindness aren’t lost on Eleanor.  She doesn’t feel entitled to them and therefore she values them much more than the average person.  “I realized that such small gestures–such small things could mean so much.”


She really has no idea how to act in social settings.  Eleanor constantly tries to figure out the formula for interacting with people in her everyday life.  “Was this how it worked, then, successful social integration?”


The most relatable moment was this thought:

“I couldn’t be put right.”

We all have felt like the odd one out at some point in our lives.  Eleanor’s tale might be an extreme one, but in many ways it is familiar.  We all feel like if we could just change this one thing about our face, or our past, or our talents, or our families that our lives would be perfect.  Then and only then do we believe that we’ll be “fixed.”  But Eleanor taught me that being broken isn’t all that bad.  It can be pretty great actually.

We all worry about what people think of us, but what if we didn’t anymore.  What if something awful just flipped that switch.  Now the world is upside down and you feel you’re the only sane person in a world of craziness.  That’s the world of Eleanor Oliphant.

Read this book.  It is well worth your time.

-Sarah the Nerd

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