Today I’m hosting the blog tour for The Seven Imperfect Rules of Elvira Carr by Frances Maynard. Check out my review below and the other dates on the tour for more Elvira Carr content!
The Seven Imperfect Rules of Elvira Carr is a memorable and touching novel about being neuroatypical and having to adjust to the unpredictability of life. Elvira is twenty-seven and lives with her mother since her father—who was often away on trips—passed away. She has a “Condition” and her mother has a number of rules to keep Elvira safe. But when her mother has a stroke and has to go into a care home, Elvira has to make her own rules and find ways to navigate the world whilst uncovering the secrets of her father’s past and making new friends, both animal and human.
The narrative is similar to the recent novel Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine in the way it follows the experiences of a narrator with a specific worldview as they must find ways to go beyond their usual boundaries, drawing the reader into their viewpoints through first person narration and the character’s rationality. Unlike Eleanor Oliphant, however, Maynard specifically focuses on autism and the way in which Elvira is treated by others is a major theme in the book.
Elvira is an endearing narrator, who wants to be good to those around her and knows she must try and understand how the “NormalTypicals” interact if she is to get along with them. Despite the focus on her rules, the book tries to highlight that she does not need to change who she is, just understand other people can be different to her and may need different considerations. Unlike the maths genius autistic stereotype often played out in the media, her special interests are biscuits and animals and she is good at being organised, though her mother did not always allow her to do this herself. The point at which Elvira discovers she can talk online with other autistic women who share her experiences is one of its most memorable points, showing the importance of sharing stories and giving everyone the chance to realise they are not alone.
The Seven Imperfect Rules of Elvira Carr is an important novel and a great read, with elements of mystery, discovering friendship, and working out how to be independent in the world. It depicts elements of neuroatypicality, particularly in women, not always shown in popular culture, whilst also being a story about a character discovering the secrets about their parents once grown up.