Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman (Harpercollins, £8.99)

This book surprised me in so many ways.

Eleanor is a complicated character who doesn’t always understand the social conventions that bind us. She has a voice in her head that judges people quite harshly. She has an old fashioned way of thinking and speaking, having mainly immersed herself in cryptic crosswords and the works of Jane Austen for the past few years.

Despite all this, we take her to our hearts. She is so vulnerable and delicate without knowing it, that we really want things to turn out fine.

Fundamentally the book explores loneliness and how to connect with other people. It is about taking those first steps, saying yes to a lunch invitation, of allowing yourself a night off from your routine and opening up to care about other people and let them care about you.

The book also shows how the care system can fail traumatised young people who need support well into adulthood.

That said, it also has some very funny moments. Our hapless heroine’s forays into the world of hair and beauty are particularly well done. The tweets from the popstar are joyful irony.

Kindness is the other overriding theme of the book, the small kindnesses that build to really help change a person’s life. The character of Raymond personifies this. Ultimately the book is about getting beyond the sheer act of surviving and embracing all life has to offer. It may make you laugh and it may make you cry but feelings are good, so enjoy this book.

Review by Philippa Morris, Little Apple bookshop.