Books like Eleanor Oliphant?
August 16, 2021 9:18 AM   Subscribe

Recommendations for books similar to Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine? I read it after seeing it recommended on here and really enjoyed it.

I usually only read mysteries/crime and I don’t really know what genre Eleanor Oliphant is. It reminded me of She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb, but I think I’m more into that style of writing than the theme of reinventing yourself. Thank you!
posted by dianeF to Media & Arts (15 answers total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
Heft by Liz Moore
posted by susandennis at 9:41 AM on August 16, 2021 [2 favorites]

I enjoyed Eleanor Oliphant, and see it as a novel about real people getting through life. In that vein, I found that All Adults Here was somewhat similar. The characters were all just trying to do their best with the cards they've been dealt in life. Relatable and easy-to-read.
posted by hydra77 at 10:10 AM on August 16, 2021 [1 favorite]

Can you elaborate what about it you particularly liked?

I really liked Rachel's Holiday by Marian Keyes. It has the unreliable narrator slowly coming to terms with the truth about her life but in an oddly lighthearted tone of voice. Is that what you mean?
posted by Omnomnom at 10:36 AM on August 16, 2021 [4 favorites]

The Seven Rules of Elvira Carr by Frances Maynard

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams
posted by lizard music at 10:42 AM on August 16, 2021 [1 favorite]

NoveList Plus's read-alike list includes "The Helpline" by Katherine Collette, "The secret life of Sam Holloway" by Rhys Thomas, "Rules for visiting" by Jessica Francis Kane, "The girl he used to know" by Tracey Garvis Graves, "The story of Arthur Truluv" by Elizabeth Berg, "How not to die alone" by Richard Roper, "Courting Greta" by Ramsey Hootman, "The lost for words bookshop" by Stephanie Butland, and "When you read this" by Mary Adkins.
posted by one for the books at 12:34 PM on August 16, 2021 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you for the responses so far! Omnomnom, yes, that is exactly what I’m looking for ..
posted by dianeF at 1:39 PM on August 16, 2021

Two spring to mind:

A Man Called Ove -- Fredrik Backman -- the same kind of curmudgeonly vibe that is both sad and charmingly sweet.

Where'd You Go, Bernadette -- Maria Semple -- a misunderstood woman battling her demons. Absurd hilarity ensues.

Both are funny and snarky, with some redemption at the end.
posted by writermcwriterson at 1:42 PM on August 16, 2021 [4 favorites]

i haven't read Eleanor Oliphant but came across this Book Depository article today which may be of interest.

Books Like “Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine”
posted by unicorn chaser at 3:12 PM on August 16, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I'm going to win this one -- you will adore Small Pleasures by Clare Chambers.
posted by heavenknows at 3:22 PM on August 16, 2021 [1 favorite]

You might enjoy America for Beginners and The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry.
posted by elmay at 4:39 PM on August 16, 2021 [1 favorite]

The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
posted by Viola Swamp at 6:05 PM on August 16, 2021 [1 favorite]

I think you might like these:

Summer Hours at the Robbers Library by Sue Halpern. A lonely librarian with a traumatic past develops friendships with a high schooler doing community service at the library, and a library patron who has lost his high powered Wall Street job and is now trying to put his life back together. A note: the tone of the first chapter of this book is VERY different from the rest of the book. Even if you're put off by the first chapter, the rest of it is more like Elinor Oliphant.

Less by Andrew Sean Greer. A lonely middle aged writer avoids his ex-boyfriend's wedding invitation by accepting a series of author-in-residence positions and speaking engagements around the world.

The Woefield Poultry Collective (alternate title: Home to Woefield) by Susan Juby. An idealistic failed YA writer moves from New York City to Vancouver Island when she inherits a rundown farm, and sets about collecting a ragtag group of people to help rehabilitate it: a curmudgeonly elderly farm hand; an agoraphobic celebrity blogger whose mom has kicked him out of the house because of his alcoholism, and a lonely, neglected 11 year old chicken expert.

Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson. An angry, lonely young woman accepts a nanny job from an old frenemy to look after two children who burst into flames whenever they are upset.

Sourdough by Robin Sloan. A lonely computer programmer gets into making sourdough bread to alleviate the alienation she feels at her job, and ends up entering the magical, shadowy world of artisanal food.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 7:04 PM on August 16, 2021 [1 favorite]

I really enjoyed Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine! I recall reading it about the same time as I read Normal People, which I also really enjoyed.

+1 for Nothing to See Here. I think the common thread is somewhat broken individuals figuring their lives out and learning to love themselves and others in spite of their past traumas.

Following this thread because I'd also like to read more books like these. 🙂
posted by Goblin Barbarian at 8:22 PM on August 16, 2021 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you all, these are great!
posted by dianeF at 3:59 AM on August 17, 2021

I also loved Eleanor Oliphant and many of the above so must recommend the outstanding The Lonely Life of Biddy Weir.
posted by humph at 4:27 AM on August 17, 2021 [1 favorite]

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