Our book club met the other night and it came time to pick our next book. Everyone said they wanted a book that was like the “Eleanor Oliphant” one. So, I decided to do some poking around to see which books might best fit that style and found a fairly good amount! These will come with me to the next meeting for sure.
The first one is actually the one that Hoarder Elizabeth recommends, and is actually the one she liked more than Eleanor! She read Britt-Marie first and followed with Eleanor after. She said had she not read Britt-Marie first, she might have felt differently about Eleanor. Well, that kind of has to put Britt-Marie was Here at the top of the list then right?
Britt-Marie can’t stand mess. A disorganized cutlery drawer ranks high on her list of unforgivable sins. She is not one to judge others—no matter how ill-mannered, unkempt, or morally suspect they might be. It’s just that sometimes people interpret her helpful suggestions as criticisms, which is certainly not her intention. But hidden inside the socially awkward, fussy busybody is a woman who has more imagination, bigger dreams, and a warmer heart that anyone around her realizes.
Then I’ll just go ahead and add Backman’s first novel, A Man Called Ove, which I haven’t read yet either, and I can’t recall if anyone else from the book club has as well? It’s hard to believe I haven’t read this one yet isn’t it?! I mean, this one is so in my wheelhouse! A grumpy yet lovable man finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moves in next door.
Meet Ove. He’s a curmudgeon, the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him the bitter neighbor from hell, but must Ove be bitter just because he doesn’t walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time?
Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove’s mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents’ association to their very foundations.
The next couple of books are immediate recommendations that appear when you search either Eleanor, or Britt-Marie, and even the recommendations that appear for books like this Augusta Hope below, all look so great!
The Other Half of Augusta Hope is one I’ve asked our library to order in, but I own the e-book. I’ve seen a lot of love for this one lately as well, so it needs to go on this list! There is another one that is suggested for readers of Augusta Hope and it looks really great too, but it doesn’t look like our library is bringing it in (although that’s an easy fix if I just ask for it! They carry other books by Stephanie Butland already!) It’s called, The Woman in the Photograph.
Augusta Hope has never felt like she fits in.
At six, she’s memorising the dictionary. At seven, she’s correcting her teachers. At eight, she spins the globe and picks her favourite country on the sound of its name: Burundi.
And now that she’s an adult, Augusta has no interest in the goings-on of the small town where she lives with her parents and her beloved twin sister, Julia.
When an unspeakable tragedy upends everything in Augusta’s life, she’s propelled headfirst into the unknown. She’s determined to find where she belongs – but what if her true home, and heart, are half a world away?
Update: Ah bummer. Our library can’t bring this one in since they can’t get it from their library suppliers. 🙁 That’s a bummer – I do have the e-book for it, but it’s not one that can be brought to book club!
The Cactus by Sarah Haywood sounds quite a bit like Eleanor doesn’t it?
In this charming and poignant debut, one woman’s unconventional journey to finding love means learning to embrace the unexpected.
For Susan Green, messy emotions don’t fit into the equation of her perfectly ordered life. She has a flat that is ideal for one, a job that suits her passion for logic, and an “interpersonal arrangement” that provides cultural and other, more intimate, benefits. But suddenly confronted with the loss of her mother and the news that she is about to become a mother herself, Susan’s greatest fear is realized. She is losing control.
Enter Rob, the dubious but well-meaning friend of her indolent brother. As Susan’s due date draws near and her dismantled world falls further into a tailspin, Susan finds an unlikely ally in Rob. She might have a chance at finding real love and learning to love herself, if only she can figure out how to let go.
In Evvie Drake Starts Over, in a small town in Maine, recently widowed Eveleth “Evvie” Drake rarely leaves her house. Everyone in town, including her best friend, Andy, thinks grief keeps her locked inside, and she doesn’t correct them. In New York, Dean Tenney, former major-league pitcher and Andy’s childhood friend, is struggling with a case of the “yips”: he can’t throw straight anymore, and he can’t figure out why. An invitation from Andy to stay in Maine for a few months seems like the perfect chance to hit the reset button.
When Dean moves into an apartment at the back of Evvie’s house, the two make a deal: Dean won’t ask about Evvie’s late husband, and Evvie won’t ask about Dean’s baseball career. Rules, though, have a funny way of being broken–and what starts as an unexpected friendship soon turns into something more. But before they can find out what might lie ahead, they’ll have to wrestle a few demons: the bonds they’ve broken, the plans they’ve changed, and the secrets they’ve kept. They’ll need a lot of help, but in life, as in baseball, there’s always a chance–right up until the last out.
For readers of Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine and A Man Called Ove, a life-affirming, deeply moving “coming-of-old” story, a celebration of how ordinary days are made extraordinary through friendship, family, and the power of forgiving yourself–at any age.
It says it all right up there in the description doesn’t it? And this is one our library has on order too!
Sitting a little outside perhaps of a direct match to Eleanor is, The Dearly Beloved by Cara Wall. This one has been catching my eye lately and I’ve seen it on a few Best Of lists this year as well.
Charles and Lily, James and Nan. They meet in Greenwich Village in 1963 when Charles and James are jointly hired to steward the historic Third Presbyterian Church through turbulent times. Their personal differences however, threaten to tear them apart.
The Dearly Beloved follows these two couples through decades of love and friendship, jealousy and understanding, forgiveness and commitment. Against the backdrop of turbulent changes facing the city and the church’s congregation, these four forge improbable paths through their evolving relationships, each struggling with uncertainty, heartbreak, and joy. It’s a poignant meditation on faith and reason, marriage and children, and the ways we find meaning in our lives.
I think armed with these, we should be able to find a book that gives us the same feelings and wonderful reading experience we had when we read Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine?!
Do you have any suggestions for similar sounding books to Eleanor?