Trifecta: My three new friends Jane + Sarah + Eleanor


Hello Books and Pie Readers, I appreciate you! Have you missed me? I’ve missed you. I’ve missed writing here and sharing these last few weeks.

We’ve let Coconut Cream Pie Day rush by without a thought (ok, I sent a text and a tweet but not much more) — it was May 8, Tuesday past. 

Thank you for all of you who have stopped by prompted by an email or just a thought or click-back on a comment I may have left on your blog, or tweet, or comment elsewhere/somewhere. How ever you may have found me, please know you are welcome.

Let’s talk about the three books I just read. (or listened to, actually)

If you read my last post, you already know that I loved my experience of listening to Thandie Newton narrating as Jane Eyre. LOVED! Highly most highly recommended.

And then there is the latest book I read:  Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman.




Miss Oliphant tells us that she found comfort in her many readings of Jane Eyre – LINK! and of course, she would! Unwanted as a child, smart as a tack, making her own way in the world and proud to do so. This could be a modern retelling of Jane. Not quite; but similarities and parallels exist. 🔥

I love that Honeyman talks about wanting more of Pilot in Jane Eyre’s story.

“You can’t have too much dog in a book.”
And finally, there’s a real person to talk about and how her story relates to Eleanor: Sarah Hepola and memoir Blackout.
As Discussion Chair of the Tournament of Books Nonfiction Pop-Up for May, Sarah has been keenly insightful and enthusiastic. I have nodded in agreement to most of her thoughts so far. Check it out. I am so glad I read her book to ‘frame’ my appreciation of this month’s conversation on Memoir. I am a fan of this genre and if is seems that I’m rating them all high, let me explain: if I am fascinated, awed, and informed by emotional sharing, I give 5. If the language and eloquence is amazing, I go high. If I’m moved; tears well in my eyes or I shake my head in disbelief – and yet don’t disbelieve that their story is honestly theirs, I rate high.
On the other hand, if I just don’t like the person, don’t like their behaviors, don’t find them to be changed or come across as arrogant, boo hiss. (I suppose I can give some examples of bad memoirs I’ve chucked against the wall. If you want? Nah, let’s only celebrate the good ones today.)
Memoirs this May have been incredible! All have been intriguing and moving. And I always found something to relate to or be amazed by.
Enough of that – how did Blackout relate to Eleanor? Well, Eleanor was a drinker. She poured copious amounts of vodka down her throat to drown her black dreams. Sure, Sarah’s story didn’t quite parallel, but the work to move beyond the consumption of alcohol as a crutch or escape or blind need was extraordinary. Difficult. Life-saving.
Oh, and all three were first person narrative.



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17 thoughts on “Trifecta: My three new friends Jane + Sarah + Eleanor

  1. Well, I’ve read the first two and agree. I’m not familiar wit the last one so I’ll have to take your word for it!
    I love the quote from Eleanor! How true it is 🙂

  2. Eleanor has been on my list for a few months. I hesitated for a long time because I worried it would be too fluffy but I seem to want light stuff right now. Might be the perfect time.

  3. I love the linkage and I think it is great when our reading stars line up like that. 🙂

    I may pick up the Sarah Hepola memoir at a later point. I don’t think I can read that many memoirs of an unhappy childhood so close together.

  4. You already know I love Jane. I plan to get to Eleanor at some point in time. If it is in the next decade, I will consider myself lucky. As for memoirs, well, I am not the fan you are and tend to avoid them.

  5. My next reread of Jane Eyre (long overdue) will be on audio, and I’ll go with the Thandie Newton narration, too!. My sister recently read Eleanor Oliphant and loved it, so I’ve got that on my list as well.

    Almost done with Kitchen of the Great Midwest… thanks for making me read it!

  6. Eleanor Oliphant is on my never-ending wish list, but it may be a while before I get to it. Maybe I’ll try to pair it with a reread of Jane Eyre. It sounds like they worked well together. You reminded me of a book I just read, last week, with talk about addiction. Obscura by Joe Hart is sci-fi but it has a heroine who is addicted to opioids and goes through withdrawal while she’s on a spaceship and everyone else is asleep. I haven’t read about withdrawal in quite some time and was a little shocked by how painful it sounds.

    1. I can SO recommend the audiobook of Jane! And Eleanor did have me LOL and crying – it’s one of those. (although, when I hear that somebody didn’t think Eleanor was funny, I wonder about them (and me!))

  7. Eleanor O just came in for a hold for me at the library! I’ve been waiting for it for quite a while. I’ll probably not get to it till the weekend though. I’m reading An American Marriage and I’m really enjoying it.

    I’ve not been blogging much lately either, going through a slump, but I think maybe by the weekend I’ll be ready to post again!

    1. I am having a tough time picking up American Marriage – I’ve been carrying it around the house and fail to open it. What is wrong with me? It might be my audiobook obsession at the moment…. but it’s a little unsettling that I haven’t read any pages of AM for days now.

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