Thursday, December 17, 2009

Book Review: Eleanor Rigby by Douglas Coupland


It's been a while since I've plowed through a book so quickly. But I think that speaks to how good this one was. The plot revolves around the hidden past catching up with a 30 something woman named Liz. She lives her life trying to forget that she is lonely. She is the definition of anonymity. However, one days she receives a phone call that changes everything and revives her life. The son whom she put up for adoption at birth is there and she is his emergency contact. Jeremy moves into her apartment and they embark on a relationship together. And with his help, Liz discovers the self that she has tried so desperately to cover up.

One of the reasons that I chose to pick this book up was because of Liz's son, who suffers from advanced Multiple Sclerosis. Knowing someone who suffers from this disease, I'm a bit skeptical of the way that Coupland depicts it at moments. But I think that he captures the emotion it evokes in people who are close to the sufferer. In fact, I very closely identified with much of what Liz felt when my mom was diagnosed with this disease.

Coupland is mostly concerned with how people deal with loneliness. At the end of the book, he gives an interview and talks about how the Beatles' song inspired this novel. He was interested in the kind of woman Eleanor was/is. I found that it got me to think about my own life, and how even though I am sometimes surrounded by people, I feel like I could be the "loneliest give in the world." Emo, right? But I think that everyone experiences these intense moments of isolation and this book is all about how was recover from this. Coupland leaves the readers with a sense of optimism that anyone can make a come back even after a lull that lasted years.

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