Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman was one of the most anticipated releases of 2018 though I did my best to avoid it for as long as possible. It couldn’t possibly live up to the hype, could it?
Fast forward to the present and I’ve just finished this wonderful book and can’t get it out of my head. So if you liked Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine (and if you didn’t who are you?), check out these ten books just like it.
These books like Eleanor Oliphant are character-driven, often featuring those who are outsiders, and all will fill your heart with warmth.
The Rosie Project‘s protagonist Don reminds me so much of Eleanor Oliphant. He has Asperger’s syndrome (unknown to him) and is incredibly socially awkward. As a result, he has next to no friends. He then creates a questionnaire to help him find the perfect wife, but a woman has to score 100% to pass.
A very funny book with a main character you grow to love. If you liked Eleanor Oliphant then you’ll also love Don. He’s the male Eleanor Oliphant!
Check out my book review of The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George
The Little Paris Bookshop is one of my all-time favourite reads. Jean Perdu is a bookseller on a floating barge in Paris (how romantic!) but when he finds a long-lost letter from a former lover, he is forced to confront the demons from his past.
This is a book like Eleanor Oliphant because it’s about healing old wounds and moving forwards.
Check out my book review of The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
Little Fires Everywhere explores the nature of family, particularly that of motherhood. Eleanor Oliphant has a particularly difficult relationship with her mother, which is explored throughout the novel, and finally dealt with at the end of the novel. Little Fires Everywhere also deals with the mark that motherhood leaves, which in Eleanor Oliphant’s case, is very much physical.
Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple
This book deals with family and mental health but somehow manages to make you chuckle most of the way through. Semple’s commentary on society reminds me of the blunt way in which Eleanor Oliphant describes things just the way they are. Bernadette is an outsider in her world, just like Eleanor, and this book proves that those with mental health problems are just as deserving of love as everyone else.
Check out my book review of Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple
A Man Called Ove
You may begin A Man Called Ove by thinking “what a grumpy old git!”, and to be honest, that’s exactly how I felt about Eleanor Oliphant too. Fast forward three hundred pages though and you’ll be just as in love with Ove as you were with Eleanor. Dealing with love, loss and second chances, this is heartwarming and uplifting novel that is also very, very funny.
I don’t know anyone else who’s read House of Windows by Alexia Casale but it’s a story that’s stuck with me through the years. The protagonist, Nick, is only 15 when he is admitted to the prestigious Cambridge University (the other place). He’s academically smart but socially awkward and obviously it’s very difficult to make friends during freshers when you’re only 15. This is the story of an oddity who manages to find friends and acceptance, just like Eleanor Oliphant.
Check out my book review of House of Windows by Alexia Casale
The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick
The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper has much in common with The Little Paris Bookshop. Arthur is alone, mourning the loss of his wife after 40 years of marriage. Then one day, he finds a charm bracelet. It takes him on a journey from London to Paris and India where he rediscovers himself and starts to heal. This is the reawakening of someone who’s stuck in routine, much like Eleanor Oliphant.
A Year of Marvellous Ways by Sarah Winman
Marvellous Ways (yes that really is her name!) has lived alone for almost all 89 years of her life. Then one day, a WWII soldier washes up in front of her. He’s trying to make good on his promise to fulfil a dying man’s last wish. This story demonstrates the power of every day actions and the healing that people can bring each other when they are lonely and lost. It’s also about recovering from grief, something Eleanor Oliphant knew a little something about.
Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller
Peggy Hillcoat is 8 years old when her father takes her away. She lives a lonely life; her father has told her that the rest of the world has disappeared. This story reminds me of Eleanor Oliphant’s because it explores the damage that parents can inflict on their children. Peggy is very wise in some ways, and yet completely infantile in others, which also reminded me of Eleanor.
Check out my book review of Claire Fuller’s second book: Swimming Lessons.
Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon
Although Florence is more than fifty years older than Eleanor Oliphant, they’ve both hidden terrible truths from the past from themselves. And Florence is afraid hers are about to come to light as she lies flat on her back in a care home, waiting to be rescued. This story is charming, poignant and funny, just like Eleanor Oliphant. Its lasting message is: even the smallest life can leave the loudest echo.
There are my 10 recommended books similar to Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman.
And if you haven’t read Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine yet… what are you waiting for?
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House of Windows by Alexia Casale
Where’d You Go Bernadette byMaria Semple
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