11 Irresistible Books Like Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine

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Find books like Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine to add to your reading list. These books include loner characters, women dealing with trauma, unlikely friendships, and other aspects similar to Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine.

Eleanor Oliphant has captured the hearts of so many readers with her quirky observations, blunt and amusing interactions, and heartwarming journey toward happiness.

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman is one of the books that started a trend toward “up-lit”–or uplifting literature. These books are not all light and happy. Most of them are tinged with sadness, trauma, or tragedy, which makes it all the more sweet when their protagonists finally achieve some measure of happiness and contentment.

If you’ve been looking for books like Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, the books on this list include some up-lit and some fiction doesn’t necessarily fall into that category, but is similar in other ways.

Many are about loners–some of whom are content alone, while others are seeking companionship–while others are about people dealing with past trauma.

Whatever aspects appeal to you, you’re sure to find some excellent books to read after Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine.

About Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine

Author: Gail Honeyman

Eleanor has her routine down to a science: work, weekly phone calls with her mother, and weekends alone with vodka. She’s fine, and she’s even ready to pursue a relationship with a musician who seems perfect for her (once she actually meets him).

Nevermind that she has no social life, no friends, and she tends to say brutally honest, awkward, and somewhat inappropriate things. She starts working out a self-improvement plan in anticipation of her future relationship with the musician, despite her mother’s cruel discouragement.

Meanwhile, she finds herself in an unexpected friendship with her coworker, Raymond, when they help an elderly gentleman after a fall. Slowly, the friendship helps draw Eleanor out of her isolation, but also pushes her toward difficult truths about herself, her past, and her future.

Eleanor is endearing for her mix of self-awareness and oblivious social awkwardness, and Raymond is an unexpected hero. This novel manages to be funny, heartbreaking, and uplifting all at once.

Books Like Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine

How Not to Die Alone by Richard Roper, a funny and uplifting book

How Not to Die Alone

Author: Richard Roper

Andrew’s job takes him into the homes of people who have recently died alone, searching for their next-of-kin (or money for a funeral). He has cultivated a lie to his coworkers that he has a wife, a family, and a home. In reality, he is actually alone, nursing old hurts and losses. When a new coworker joins him on his outings, he sees the potential for friendship and a less lonely life.

Elements in common with Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine:

  • A lonely British office worker dreaming of human connections
  • Past traumas
  • Unexpected friendships

Eggshells by Catriona Lally

Eggshells

Author: Catriona Lally

Vivian lives alone and walks the streets of Dublin, searching for the doorway to the other world her parents told her she was from. As she tires of this endless quest, she decides to advertise for a friend–specifically named Penelope. When Penelope reaches out, Vivian struggles with how to connect with her–and with everyone.

Fans of Eleanor’s awkward, quirky voice may like Vivian, who often veers into even more outlandish territory.

Elements in common with Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine:

  • Character-driven story of a lonely, awkward woman
  • Childhood trauma affecting adult mental health
  • Struggles to form friendships

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

A Man Called Ove

Author: Fredrik Backman

Ove is a solitary curmudgeon who is set in his ways and unreserved in his criticism of anyone who crosses his path. But behind his rough exterior is a sweet, sad backstory and a soft-hearted man committed to his morals who is about to have his world rocked by several people (and a cat) who refuse to be held off by a few cranky words. Ove is by turns funny, sad, and heartwarming.

Elements in common with Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine:

  • Lonely person nursing past hurts
  • Unexpected friendships
  • Funny, awkward encounters

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

The Language of Flowers

Author: Vanessa Diffenbaugh

Victoria has aged out of the foster care system and finds herself working in a flower shop. She discovers that she has the unique talent of matching people with the perfect flowers. As she grows more confident in her place in the world. she struggles to learn to trust and form connections with other people.

Elements in common with Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine:

  • A woman on her own, struggling to form relationships
  • Childhood trauma

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

The Rosie Project

Author: Graeme Simsion

Don Tillman is an Australian genetics professor who decides to embark on what he calls The Wife Project to find his perfect partner. Don likely has Aspergers syndrome, and he figures his best chance of finding someone is using a scientific approach.

Along the way, he meets Rosie, a woman he quickly eliminates from The Wife Project, but who intrigues him with her search for her biological father. He quickly jumps into The Father Project in the first of many bursts of spontaneity and excitement that Rosie brings into his well-ordered life.

Elements in common with Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine:

  • Lonely person searching for connection
  • Quirky and sometimes funny observations about the world
  • Unlikely friendships

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman, a good option for a fun, feel good book

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill

Author: Abbi Waxman

Nina is an introvert, bookworm, and trivia buff. She is happy with her regimented, small life working in a bookstore and competing on a trivia team (and trying to decide how she feels about an intriguing competitor). Her life is upended when she is named in the will of the father she’s never met–and suddenly she has a large and complicated family.

Nina is more confident in herself and the life she’s chosen than Eleanor, and this is a lighter, less sad choice for readers who enjoy books about introverts.

Elements in common with Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine:

  • Introverted women who live by a routine
  • Past family issues shaking up the present

Related: 11 Poignant Books About Grief and Loss


Boop and Eve's Road Trip by Mary Helen Sheriff

Boop and Eve’s Road Trip

Author: Mary Helen Sheriff

College student Eve is worried about her best friend and cousin, Ally. She hasn’t heard from her, and all signs point to trouble. Eve’s grandmother, Boop, is in turn worried about Even–all of her signs point to major depression, which Boop knows something about. The two set off on a road trip, with Eve hoping to find Ally and Boop struggling with whether to share a long-held secret that may upend her family.

Elements in common with Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine:

  • Women dealing with depression
  • Heartwarming relationships
  • Past family secrets

Related: 15 Heartwarming Books to Boost Your Spirits


Harry's Trees by Jon Cohen

Harry’s Trees

Author: Jon Cohen

When 34-year-old Harry’s wife is unexpectedly killed, the Forest Service employee retreats to the trees to grieve and atone for his role in her death. There, he meets a young girl and a mother who are also grieving the loss of their father and husband. 

The girl, Oriana, is guided by her belief in magic and fairy tales, and is convinced that she and Harry have a mission. Only by completing it will they be pulled up from the depths of their grief. 

Elements in common with Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine:

  • A lonely person grieving and struggling with the past
  • Unexpected, uplifting friendships

Related: 13 Eco-Fiction Books about the Environment and Nature


All Grown Up by Jami Attenberg

All Grown Up

Author: Jami Attenberg

Andrea is 40 and has been living life on her own terms. She’s single, does what she wants, and seems to live a full life. At the same time, she hates her job and isn’t sure how she fits into the lives of her friends and family. When her niece is born with an illness, she is forced to confront her choices and how she wants to live her life.

Elements in common with Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine:

  • A single woman examining her life
  • The protagonist sometimes working against her own interests
  • The struggle to form meaningful connections

The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley

The Authenticity Project

Author: Clare Pooley

When elderly Julian Jessop leaves a notebook in Monica’s cafe, she is intrigued by the question inside: “What would happen if you shared the truth?”

So begins the notebook’s journey through six strangers, each examining their truths and finally coming together to form unlikely friendships.

Filled with quirky characters and lovely connections, this is a little bit rom-com but more of a feel-good comfort read.

Elements in common with Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine:

  • Lonely people forming unlikely friendships
  • Coming to terms with pasts in order to move forward
  • Heartwarming relationships

Ellie and the Harp Maker by Hazel Prior

Ellie and the Harp Maker

Author: Hazel Prior

Ellie is a housewife in the English town of Exmoor. She’s a little lonely and bored, and one day on a walk, she stumbles on a barn. In the barn is Dan, a talented harp maker. Sensing her discontent, Dan gifts Ellie with a harp. When her controlling husband protests, Ellie begins visiting in secret to practice on her harp.

Dan and Ellie strike up a friendship that becomes increasingly important to both of them. When Ellie discovers a secret that changes Dan’s life, her own secret is also in jeopardy.

Elements in common with Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine:

  • Unlikely friendships
  • Quirky characters, conversations, and observations

What other books remind you of Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine?


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If You Loved Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, Try These 11 Read-Alikes

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3 Comments

  1. Oh my gosh – These all sound good. I live alone and have been doing a lot of self-reflection lately.

  2. I’ve read several of these books already and have enjoyed them all! Looking forward to reading your suggestions!

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