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The Cactus

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  15,553 ratings  ·  1,399 reviews
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 int
Paperback, 384 pages
Published May 7th 2019 by Park Row (first published January 25th 2018)
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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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Community Reviews

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3.80  · 
Rating details
 ·  15,553 ratings  ·  1,399 reviews

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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
Nov 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really loved this one!😍
Kate ☀️ Olson
🌵 🎧 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!
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
Jan 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Laura Peden
Jun 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Cactus by Sarah Haywood, narrated by Katherine Manners is the character study of a British woman named Susan. If you enjoyed Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine you will most likely enjoy The Cactus. Susan is a no nonsense & well-mannered single 45 year old who finds herself pregnant and on her own. Which is what she prefers. At least she thinks she does. There’s family drama with hidden secrets, a light romance, laugh-out-loud situations and a journey of personal growth. This is excepti ...more
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
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.
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 27, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: galley
I wanted to like this book, but unfortunately I didn’t. I read a few chapters and I thought was not what I was expecting. I didn’t finish the book .
Laura Rash
Jun 13, 2019 rated it it was ok
Idk if this was supposed to be cute and quirky but it didn’t quite get it for me.
Karen Mace
5 stars for the cover - it's stunningly beautiful! But unfortunately only 3 stars for the story! That's not to say I didn't enjoy it as it was an interesting story, but I just didn't connect with the character as I hoped I would and I just felt that the book was missing something although I'm not sure what that was!

The main character, Susan Green, is very set in her ways! She's very independent and likes her own routine and seems at odd with the modern world around her at times. She is a fan of
This book is perfect in every way and I was really sad when I'd finished.

I was engrossed, enthralled, so vested in Susan's life and what was happening to her. What a well-rounded character and how well the author fed the reader the pieces of Susan's past that made her such a prickly character. Her voice was perfect and really made me laugh at her little observations - I could picture the expression on her face as I read her thoughts. So cleverly written and such a lovely warm-hearted story. LOV
Lydia Bailey
A 3.5 from me. I enjoyed the book on the whole & it’s our current book club read so will do a full review at a later date. It felt a little like a copy cat to Eleanor Olephant to me. The main character is very similar, especially in the way she deals with people, but I didn’t like her nearly as much as Eleanor and found her rudeness annoying in places. A heartwarming tale but takes a while to get there.
Jan 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A thoroughly enjoyable read. Fans of Eleanor Olyphant and Ove will enjoy Susan Green. But there is more here to love than a retread of those books. Watch this character come alive and step out of her comfort zone. You will be rooting for her the whole way despite her prickly exterior.
Heather LitChick4ever
Jun 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a charming book and instead being divided into chapters, the book is divided into months. I enjoyed Susan's sarcastic, witty outlook on things and even though she comes off as prickly (pun intended), she has reason to push people away and keep a distance between herself and those who try to be a part of her life and help her. She is determined to be a strong, independent woman who doesn't need help from others, even from her family. 

I enjoyed being a part of the life changes that Susan m
Jun 27, 2019 rated it did not like it
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
Jun 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Susan is a complex character and comes across as unlikable. As her life unravels though I rooted for her and a happy outcome. Sweet ending but couldn’t rate it higher.
Jan 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can't begin to review this book without mentioning that beautiful cover. The image above does not do it justice at all. Those pale pink looking bits are in fact a beautiful shimmering foil. This book was a very welcome surprise when it arrived a couple of weeks ago and when I read the back, I knew it was a book I would enjoy.

Susan Green is very, very set in her ways, most definitely on the autistic spectrum, When we meet her at the beginning of the book, her mother has just died provoking very
Tracy Fenton
Oct 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’m on a mission to read as many books as possible with “quirky” characters and when Richard & Judy announced The Cactus as part of their Autumn Book Club choices it seemed perfect timing to start this book.

Firstly, I absolutely HATE it when books are compared to other books/characters etc and when the Sunday Times said “‘The Cactus will be compared to Gail Honeyman’s 2017 hit, the appealingly eccentric Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine” I try to take it with a pinch of salt and read it w
Jun 09, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked up this book as it was suggested it was similar to Eleanor Oliphant. I adore Eleanor so I was thrilled to hear of this book. However, this is no Eleanor. I found the book's plot to be one that I did not care about. One that I did not want to know the outcome. The protagonist was ho-hum and quite annoying. Oh was worth the try.
Kathryn in FL
While the publisher's blurb compares this story to "The Rosie Project", it reminded me much more of "Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine" which I thoroughly enjoyed as much as "The Rosie Project". This book has its own set of unique circumstances that made me vacillate between awarding 4 or 5 stars. Susan has always adhered to a very structured life that has given her the sense of control and safety that her childhood did not provide. Now, she is at a juncture, she had not anticipated, being a p ...more
Sally (whatsallyreadnext)
May 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Leading a perfectly ordinary life, Susan Green is 45 and is pretty happy with living on her own in a London flat, having a stable job that's ideal for her logical personality and has been enjoying a no-strings-attached arrangement with a guy for several years.

That is until she not only finds herself pregnant, but she's also forced to deal with her mother's sudden death and contesting the will against her good-for-nothing younger brother. 
Susan is now faced with a lot of mayhem in her previously
Katheryn Thompson
I think that the premise of this book works really well: an intelligent, independent, and capable woman suddenly starts to lose control of her life, as she has to face her family, the loss of her mother, and her unplanned pregnancy. And while parts of this story are inevitably a little cliched (all stories with a happy ending are), the voice of the protagonist is anything but.

I loved the originality of the character of Susan, and her distinctive voice, and I particularly loved the way that Haywo
Oct 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Susan, the main character, is a prickly woman in her mid forties. ( Of course, we come to learn that she is a product of her upbringing). She has her life well ordered, with a job that suits her and a flat in London. Her world is turned upside-down when her Mum dies, leaving her brother a lifetime interest in the family home. Susan, having just found out she is pregnant, must set this injustice right. In order to do this, she must start to rely on, and accept help from other people, something sh ...more
I found the beginning very entertaining and i liked our prickly main character. But soon after the first “month” i lost interest.
She losses her mother and pushes her feelings away but then it comes bubbling up to the surface and she kind of goes crazy. Oh yeah and hormones are out of control due to her pregnancy with a man she recently broke off with after a 12 year relationship.
Beverly Duffy
Jun 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Cute story!
Clephiro (The Book Coven)
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
Although I am close to the heroine's age, I struggled to relate to her prickly pear personality; she was extraordinarily harsh in her judgments of others and lacked compassion, or, at the very least, blocked her connection to her compassion. Her character arc was sweepingly large--she grows and matures, and it was refreshing to see a character over forty learning and improving (life: constantly a bildungsroman?), but because I lacked that foundation of a connection, I didn't care deeply for her ...more
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Reese's Book Club...: The Cactus by Sarah Haywood 7 717 Jul 09, 2019 03:46AM  
IBIS Read and Review: The Cactus by Sarah Haywood 1 1 Jul 07, 2019 08:00PM  
Reese's Book Club...: Romance 10 355 Jul 07, 2019 02:33AM  
Overbooked: July 2019 Book Club Pick 1 4 Jun 30, 2019 05:41PM  
YA Buddy Readers'...: The Cactus by Sarah Haywood - Starting June 13th 2019 9 11 Jun 20, 2019 10:22AM  

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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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“I suppose it’s traditional to go down on one knee at this point, but the pelicans have been busy and you’re sitting on my handkerchief.” 3 likes
“It’s what goes on inside that I care about,’ she concluded. ‘Not the labels on your clothes, or what car you drive, or whether you’re popular or fashionable or good-looking.” 3 likes
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