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My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Equal parts funny and heartbreaking, Eleanor shows us what it’s like to be the product of an abusive mother and the result of a traumatic childhood. Although she claims everything is fine, I wanted to fold her in my arms and reassure her everything really would be fine.

Most of us have experienced negative voices from time to time. But I was particularly moved by how the negative voices in Eleanor’s head gradually faded as she opened herself to experiencing life. All the things that most of us take for granted, having a friend, a love interest, trying new foods and clothes, and even getting a new hairstyle, are all new experiences for Eleanor.

The mystery of what happened to Eleanor, from where her scars came from to what her mother did, are not the only aspects that keep you turning pages. There’s also the question of what will happen when she finally meets Johnnie, her crush. Or will her friendship with Raymond develop into something more?

I found the recounting of Eleanor’s need for human connection to be honest and accurate based on my understanding of the toll a lack of adequate social interaction can take on a person’s mental state.  

Eleanor leapt off the pages and felt as real to me as any person I’ve met.

Photo by Angela Davis © 2023