Delightful novel about a woman with a hideous past (her mother tried to kill her and successfully killed her younger sister) who attempts to be normal, going to her office job, spending weekends with frozen pizza and vodka to pass the days. She develops a crush on a musician she spots onstage, spinning out a fantasy life, and attempts to redo her image in order to be with him. Her co-worker, Raymond, is always there in the background, and they become unlikely friends and more. Eleanor’s candor, frankness, inability to not speak her mind is refreshing and weird. She grapples with feelings of intense loneliness and is unsure of how to make her way in the world until Raymond leads her onto the path toward normalcy.
“She wasn’t actually chewing gum, but her demeanor was very much that of a gum chewer.”
After Eleanor has a bit of a makeover, her coworkers treat her differently, kinder. “Was this how it worked, then, successful social integration? Was it really that simple? Wear some lipstick, go to the hairdressers and alternate the clothes you wear? Someone ought to write a book, or at least an explanatory pamphlet, and pass this information on.”