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10 Books Like Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

Books Like Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

I just finished reading “Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine” and, well, the title is a bit of a lie. Eleanor might insist she’s perfectly alright, but trust me, there’s more stories than echo similar motifs and themes.


Well, here are some similar books that you might just love reading.

Books Like Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

1. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

This novel follows the story of Ove, a curmudgeonly old man whose life seems to be defined by the losses he’s endured. He’s a stickler for rules and believes the world is black and white, but his life begins to change when a new family moves in next door and accidentally knocks over his mailbox. 

Through a series of events, Ove’s past is revealed, and we see the profound impact of friendship and community on his life.

Major Similarities: 

Like “Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine,” “A Man Called Ove” deals with themes of loneliness and the transformative power of unexpected friendships. 

Both novels feature protagonists who, at first, are set in their ways and isolated from society, but gradually, they learn to open up and connect with those around them. The blend of humor and heartache in both stories makes for a deeply emotional and uplifting reading experience.

2. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

This book introduces us to Don Tillman, a genetics professor with undiagnosed Asperger’s Syndrome, who decides it’s time he found a wife. 

To do this, Don creates the Wife Project, a detailed questionnaire to weed out unsuitable candidates. However, when he meets Rosie, who doesn’t meet any of his criteria, Don’s carefully structured life is turned upside down.

Major Similarities: 

“The Rosie Project” shares the theme of social awkwardness and the journey towards self-discovery with “Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine.” 

Both books have protagonists with unique perspectives on the world, leading to humorous and poignant moments. The stories highlight the importance of connections and how love and friendship can come from the most unexpected places.

3. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

A.J. Fikry’s life is not at all what he expected it to be. His wife has died, his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history, and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. 

But when a mysterious package appears at the bookstore, its unexpected arrival gives A.J. the opportunity to make his life over and see everything anew.

Major Similarities: 

Both “Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine” and “The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry” focus on characters experiencing profound loneliness and the ways in which unexpected relationships can dramatically transform lives. 

The novels are heartwarming and explore the themes of healing and starting over, with a strong emphasis on the power of community and connection.

4. The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce

Set in 1988, “The Music Shop” is about Frank, the owner of a music shop that sells only vinyl records. He has a gift for finding the exact piece of music to heal people’s ailments. 

When Ilse Brauchmann walks into his life, a mysterious woman with a request that challenges Frank, he must face his fears and, in the process, confront his past.

Major Similarities: 

Like “Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine,” “The Music Shop” explores themes of emotional healing and the impact of past trauma on the present. 

Both novels feature quirky, endearing characters who learn to embrace life’s uncertainties. The importance of community and the healing power of art—whether through music in “The Music Shop” or the small acts of kindness in “Eleanor Oliphant”—is central to both stories.

5. Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman

Britt-Marie, a socially awkward, obsessive-compulsive woman, has left her cheating husband and is forced to fend for herself in the small, backward town of Borg. 

Her new job as a caretaker of a recreation center puts her in the middle of the community’s life, and through her interactions with the town’s residents, she starts to rediscover her own sense of worth and capacity for change.

Major Similarities: 

“Britt-Marie Was Here” shares with “Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine” the journey of a socially isolated protagonist finding her place in the world. 

Both novels humorously yet tenderly depict the challenges of breaking out of loneliness and the transformative power of community and self-discovery. Britt-Marie and Eleanor’s journeys are testaments to the resilience of the human spirit and the unexpected paths to personal fulfillment.

6. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

This novel tells the story of Harold Fry, a recently retired man who embarks on an impromptu walking journey across England to deliver a letter to an old friend who is dying. 

What starts as a simple mission becomes a profound journey of self-discovery, as Harold reflects on his past and the relationships that have shaped his life.

Major Similarities: 

Similar to “Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine,” “The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry” explores themes of redemption, the impact of the past on the present, and the journey towards emotional healing. 

Both books feature protagonists who embark on unexpected journeys that ultimately lead them to a deeper understanding of themselves and the power of human connection.

7. The Cactus by Sarah Haywood

Susan Green is like a cactus: self-sufficient, orderly, and thriving in isolation. However, her perfectly structured life begins to unravel when her mother dies, and she finds herself pregnant at forty-five. 

Faced with these unexpected challenges, Susan embarks on a journey of self-discovery that forces her to confront her past and open her heart to new possibilities.

Major Similarities: 

“The Cactus” and “Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine” both feature unconventional female protagonists who prefer to live within the comfortable confines of their established routines. 

The novels delve into themes of family, the complexities of personal growth, and the unexpected forms love can take, emphasizing the importance of allowing oneself to be vulnerable in order to truly connect with others.

8. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Set in the 1980s, this novel follows two misfit teenagers, Eleanor and Park, who unexpectedly form a deep bond over their shared love of comic books and music. 

As they navigate the challenges of young love and the complexities of their personal lives, they find in each other a safe haven from the outside world.

Major Similarities: 

While “Eleanor & Park” focuses on a younger demographic and explores romantic love, it shares with “Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine” themes of overcoming traumatic pasts and the healing power of human connection. 

Both stories highlight the importance of empathy and understanding in forming meaningful relationships.

9. How to Stop Time by Matt Haig

Tom Hazard may look like an ordinary 41-year-old, but due to a rare condition, he has been alive for centuries. Moving through time, he has experienced history first-hand, but his condition comes with a price: he must constantly change his identity to keep his secret safe, preventing him from forming lasting relationships. 

His life takes a turn when he takes a job as a history teacher in London and finds himself longing for an ordinary life.

Major Similarities: 

“How to Stop Time” and “Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine” share a deep exploration of loneliness and the human desire for connection and love. 

Both protagonists grapple with their past traumas and the barriers they’ve built around themselves, ultimately seeking redemption and a sense of belonging in a world that often feels alien to them.

10. The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley

This novel revolves around a green notebook that travels between strangers in London, with each person invited to write their true selves on its pages. 

It begins with Julian, an elderly artist who writes his truth and leaves the notebook in a café, sparking a series of events that bring together a diverse group of people who are all hiding something about themselves. As the notebook passes from hand to hand, its contributors start to form real connections and confront their own truths.

Major Similarities: 

Like “Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine,” “The Authenticity Project” emphasizes the importance of authenticity, vulnerability, and community in overcoming isolation and forging meaningful relationships. 

Both novels are heartwarming and optimistic, showcasing the transformative power of sharing one’s story and the unexpected ways in which people can enter our lives and change them for the better.

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