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The Cactus

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  61,282 ratings  ·  4,928 reviews
Even the prickliest cactus has its flower.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 ...more
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published January 25th 2018 by Two Roads
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Sarah Haywood Hello Emma. 'Mom' is used for 'Mother' in Birmingham in the same way that 'Mam' is used in Newcastle. (I'm from Birmingham and my mother says 'Mom'). …moreHello Emma. 'Mom' is used for 'Mother' in Birmingham in the same way that 'Mam' is used in Newcastle. (I'm from Birmingham and my mother says 'Mom'). Funnily enough, in the American edition of the book 'Mum' is used throughout. The US editor told me that most Americans are aware that 'Mum' is the commonly used word in the UK and would be confused by the Brummie 'Mom'.(less)
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Average rating 3.59  · 
Rating details
 ·  61,282 ratings  ·  4,928 reviews

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Jun 27, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Oh boy. I would have DNF’d this, but at a point it became personal and I wanted to be able to make a fully formed opinion of the book. The main character was not “prickly” or “quirky”; she was rude, condescending, often downright cruel. The backstory we got in the end in no way excused her behavior. The love interest made no sense. I hated the trope of “rejecting help, friendship and literally any kindness makes you strong and independent and this is what a true feminist is.”- no, it makes you i ...more
Richard (on hiatus)
The audio version of The Cactus by Sarah Haywood has accompanied me on a number of my (socially distanced) lockdown walks. This seems quite fitting as Susan Green, the central figure of this novel, lives a largely socially distanced life.
Susan is in her mid forties, lives alone and is perfectly content living her well ordered life in her well ordered flat, dependent on no one.
She has a man friend that she finds convenient for rare social occasions, cultural events and ..... er ...... more intim
This one is difficult to review, because the story itself is pretty decent. 🤔 But I absolutely loathed the main character, Susan. 😬 She was a horrible person, to pretty much everyone. I’ve read other reviews comparing this character to ‘Eleanor Oliphant’... and I’m sorry, I just don’t see it. 🤷🏼‍♀️ Eleanor had high functioning Aspergers and Susan just had a large stick shoved somewhere. Story was like a 4... but Susan was a 0... so I feel generous giving this a 3. 😉
Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews
4.5 stars
The Cactus is a book that comes with such a visually stunning cover, it is filled with flourishing cactus plants, set against a shimmering metallic background and I will admit that it won me over instantly. I also adore the cover tagline that adds further embellishment to this already spectacular cover. The Cactus is comes with the cover quote “It’s never too late to bloom”. Self acceptance and life changes at a mature age are the central themes tha
Jan 18, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ah well, somewhere between 2.5 and 3 stars.
And please, please, never ever spell "bin" instead of "been", it does not add any quirkiness to the speech, it just looks stupid.

I have to say this book did not live up to my expectations. From the blurb I expected some quirky, humorous, emotional story, very cleverly written, but it turned out to be pretty average on the enjoyment scale.

Susan is 45. She lives alone and lives her life whichever way suits her best. She is smart, in full of control of her
Jaye Berry
Jun 13, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Hours of my life I will never get back.

The Cactus is about a prickly woman named Susan who lives her life by the order she's created. When her mother dies, she ends up in an inheritance battle with her brother and also ends up getting closer to Rob, her brother's friend. If that wasn't enough, Susan finds herself pregnant and surprising everyone and even herself, she is keeping it.

While I hate (lol no) to drag a book down by lifting another, I will. Let me introduce you to my friend Eleanor Olip
Emily B
Jun 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
From reading the first few chapters It was very easy to predict the rest of the plot of this novel. However I still really loved the ending.

I was over halfway into reading it before I whole heartily started to enjoy it and fully warm to the characters. In the end I finished this book smiling.
Jan 23, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
Review also posted to blog: http://books-are-a-girls-best-friend....

What does it take to find your true self? Life-Changing Events.

Susan is a 45 (forty-five) year-old woman who is prickly as a pear or rather as prickly as cactus if I’m going to get technical. Friendly isn’t exactly her forte. Set in her ways, Susan prefers routine and likes to be alone. Having had to grow up quite fast, Susan became extremely independent at a very young age and has never had to rely on anyone to do anything. Dif
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

After seeing a couple of low-ratings from my Goodreads’ friends I opted to put The Cactus on the backburner and made my request to the library when I was waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay down the wait list – despite the fact that . . . . .

God am I a sucker for famous people telling me what to read.

I think the main issue people have with this book (and soooooooo many others that are using #ifyoulikedeleanoroliphant as their main selling feature)
Kate Olson
May 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
🌵 🎧 Yay for great audiobooks with fabulous narrators with ACCENTS! British, in this case.

THE CACTUS was my latest listen and it was a great one 💗 I adore quirky characters and this one has that PLUS family drama PLUS love ~ highly recommend to fans of “Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine” by Gail Honeyman and “Something Like Happy” by Eva Woods 😊 Both of those are excellent on audio as well, BTW!
Nov 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really loved this one!😍
Jun 13, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary
How are people comparing The Cactus to my girl Eleanor Oliphant? Eleanor was heart-warming, but sad, and dealt with a woman who had suffered real trauma. The Cactus features a protagonist who is equally distant and curt but seems to have a whole less reason to be such a jerk to everyone around her. I have no idea how people are praising her relationship with Rob because they spend the first half of the book barely speaking, and when they do, it's to pass messages to or from her brother. Despite ...more
Ruthy lavin
Feb 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh my word, this book is bloody brilliantl!!!!
It starts off a bit like Bridget Jones, and ends a bit like Four weddings - someone please adapt it into a film!!!
I didn’t think anything could top Eleanor Oliphant for me because I really, really loved that book and will definitely read it again someday - but this? It’s as good if not better.
Witty in that inimitable British way, with undertones of sadness and comedy, it’s just a literary triumph.
I’m always a reluctant 5 star rater, but this just co
Jun 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars. I really enjoyed this and found myself smiling often. The cover blurb that fans of “Elinor Oliphant” will enjoy it is totally accurate, but I think this main character and story are much more likable. Though the story of a 45yo woman who finds herself pregnant was a little tough for me personally, I still rooted for her and a happy outcome.
Aug 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
3.5 stars rounded up.

I was a little disappointed by The Cactus and cannot really understand the comparisons with Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine and Don Tillman from The Rosie Project. In fact, I think the comparisons are way off for the simple reason that Eleanor and Don were both likable from the start as well as funny. The protagonist in The Cactus is not someone I would want to get to know and that made it difficult for me to get through the book. Think of a person who is like a cactus.
Caro (Bookaria)
An unconventional protagonist facing life-changing events. This was a quick and enjoyable read. The main character has a particular and structured personality which I could relate to (a bit) and which made me smile.

I first heard about this book when it was selected for RW's book club. In the past, she has chosen great titles for discussion and for this reason I gave it a try. The audiobook had a great narrator and the book has a beautiful cover.

It was lighthearted and funny, I recommend it to r
Laura Rash  Wonderchick
Idk if this was supposed to be cute and quirky but it didn’t quite get it for me.
This is an absolutely beautiful book. A real treat, from start to finish. Can't believe it's the author's first novel.

I have become a real fan of books that feature quirky main characters. Susan, the protagonist, is in her mid-40s. She is intelligent, strong-willed and independent. She enjoys her own company and doesn't really need friends or even close family relationships. Everything changes when something happens that will change her life forever. (It is described in the book description but
Splendid read written in impeccable British-English sprinkled with that sweet and dry British humour! I LOVE IT!

Meet the protagonist of the sweeping story, Susan Green aka Suze, a 45-years old pregnant single.
Every aspect of her life is marked by her judgmental, black or white thought pattern. There is certainly no room for irrationality in her life. Well, except for the fact that life has its own plans that she cannot control. 🤙🙃

Suze has single-handedly created the ideal life for herself in Lo
Julie Parks
Nov 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: general-fiction
This book in the definition of English humor. It should even come with a warning: Don't read it on a rainy morning!

I loved every chapter. But the character can get to be a bit too bitter at times. She's a new kind of lol.

Thank you NetGalley for the chance to read this in exchange for my honest review.
Jan 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
So, let's talk about that cover. It's absolutely sublime, and I have to admit that as soon as I opened up the envelope when it dropped through my letterbox, I bumped this one to the very top of the 'to be read' pile. See, I'm a cover tart, I have to admit it. There is nothing more likely to get me interested in a book than a beautifully produced cover, and especially a hardback cover. I was truly besotted.

The contents of the book certainly do not disappoint either. Yes, we can certainly judge th
Sonja Arlow
3.5 stars

The Cactus is such an aptly named title as it describes the narrator so well. A bit prickly, adapted to repel rather than attract but with a little patience you may just watch her bloom.

This is one of the few books that I can genuinely recommend for readers who also loved Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fineas the two books have the same vibe. But be warned, Susan is not immediately likable however she grew on me so much that I actually hope there will be a sequel.

Susan is 45, with a met
Oct 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I agree with others that this is a read alike to "Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine" by Gail Honeyman. Both are great reads. It was truly interesting to learn how each sibling viewed and experienced their parents differently and how it contributed to the antagonism between them. The following quotes are from a conversation as brother and sister argue over what type of funeral gathering they should have for their Mum:
Sister: "Mum was teetotal she would have been horrified to think her wake woul
Lisa Wolf
3.5 stars. I usually round up on Goodreads, but this really doesn't feel like a 4-star read to me.

I borrowed the audiobook of The Cactus from my library on a whim, based on its being available and also being a Reese's Book Club pick (because I do seem to like most of their selections). This was an enjoyable, diverting story, although I'm not sure that I loved it. Susan is set in her ways, negating emotion at every turn, always aiming for efficiency and neatness. When her life turns upside down,
Dec 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I must admit I have an affinity for unusual characters. Susan Green is 45 years old and is a very straight laced, humourless woman. She is very organized, always early and tells it like it is. She comes off as an “ice queen”. But much is about to change in Susan’s life- will she be able to adjust and carry on?
I liked Susan despite her faults. On the cover of the book it states “ It’s Never Too Late To Bloom.” We follow Susan on her journey- I pretty well figured out where her journey would lead,
Lisa (Remarkablylisa)
Real Rating 4.5/5 stars. I really enjoyed this story about an older woman who suddenly becomes pregnant and also realizing she's been left out of her mother's will. From then on, she does a lot of investigative work to figure out the reasons why she doesn't get any inheritance even though she believes she was the one who took care of her mother the best. It's a feel good story. I took half a star off because the brother is stupid. ...more
Lucy Jackson
I did enjoy 45 year old Susan Green's journey through this book the second half was much better than the first, her life becomes much more interesting as she deals with life's challenges.
What I didn't like was Susan herself I'm not really sure how to explain it, it wasn't because she was unlikeable that was essential to the story, I suppose it was the character development I just didn't engage with.
Monica (crazy_4_books)
(read for the #ohwhatfunreadathon hosted by Mackenzie Lane for the challenge: read the 25th book on your TBR. Note: I used my home-shelves TBR and number 25th hasn't arrived yet, so this one was the 24th)
This book is real good, but it's got quite hard-hitting topics. I'd say it gravitates towards "Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine" when it comes to character profile and dysfunctional families with a whole bunch of secrets. However, I didn't find Susan Green as likable as Eleanor Oliphant, and
Amy | Foxy Blogs
The Cactus didn't hit the spot for me. I picked this book up because it was Reese Witherspoon's June book club read and I had watched her IG stories about how funny this book is and how much she loved it.

My reaction wasn't quite the same. Unfortunately, I didn't find it funny. I suppose what one person finds funny another person doesn't. I had a hard time wrapping my head around a woman who was so unwilling to accept help because she's afraid it'll make her look weak.

Susan finds herself pregna
Dec 03, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chick-lit
This was a good book, but it wasn't my cup of tea. ...more
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Oregon Public Lib...: the Cactus [June 2022] 1 2 May 28, 2022 09:15AM  
Goodreads Librari...: [Done] Please merge these duplicates 1 28 Jan 30, 2022 03:00PM  
Reese's Book Club...: Romance 11 839 Jun 05, 2021 04:18PM  
Reese's Book Club...: The Cactus by Sarah Haywood 8 1339 Jun 05, 2021 04:17PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Kindle Editions 4 12 Feb 23, 2021 05:28AM  

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Sarah Haywood was born in Birmingham. After studying Law, she worked in London and Birkenhead as a solicitor, in Toxteth as an advice worker, and in Manchester as an investigator of complaints about lawyers. She now lives in Liverpool with her husband and two sons.

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