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The Cactus

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  25,381 ratings  ·  2,255 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 oth
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)
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Susan Yes. This is completely credible. There is no universal answer to how/when/if to tell a child they've been adopted. Plenty of parents never tell their…moreYes. This is completely credible. There is no universal answer to how/when/if to tell a child they've been adopted. Plenty of parents never tell their child they were adopted and the child, similar to Susan, find out only after a traumatic event and not from the parent. (less)

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Average rating 3.72  · 
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 ·  25,381 ratings  ·  2,255 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 m
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 sm
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!
Nov 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really loved this one!😍
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
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)
Carol (Bookaria)
Jul 07, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019, fiction, romance
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 recom
Jaye Berry
Jun 13, 2019 rated it did not like it
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/>The
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.
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 certai
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
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
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.
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 wak
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 pregnant at the a
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.
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 the adorable ...more
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 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.
Aug 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
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 lik
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.
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
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
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 an
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
Jan 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  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 .
Jul 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Now he was upright I couldn’t help noticing how ridiculously tall he was. Some people might find such height attractive but, as far as I’m concerned, anything over six foot is excessive and smacks of attention-seeking.

Susan is very independent, a bit obsessive, standoffish and a total control freak. Her disciplined live is unsettled when she must deal with her unplanned pregnancy and the death of her mother, as well as trying to sort out issues in her mom’s will.

The audio book was a
Jul 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: release-2019
“Even the prickliest cactus has its flower.. ”

3.5 ☆ Susan’s not a very likable character, she’s “prickly,” brittle + dry, a bit unemotional + keeps her life under control. After reading her mother’s will that leaves the family home to her feckless brother + learning she’s expecting (in her 40’s) her life’s then not-so-under-control and her prickles start flexing! She’s hard to warm up to but the laugh out loud moments made up for it.

With all the buzz surrounding it I can’t wait to p
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.
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Reese's Book Club...: The Cactus by Sarah Haywood 7 901 Jul 09, 2019 03:46AM  
IBIS Read and Review: The Cactus by Sarah Haywood 1 2 Jul 07, 2019 08:00PM  
Reese's Book Club...: Romance 10 423 Jul 07, 2019 02:33AM  
Overbooked: July 2019 Book Club Pick 1 6 Jun 30, 2019 05:41PM  
YA Buddy Readers'...: The Cactus by Sarah Haywood - Starting June 13th 2019 9 12 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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“Dealing with members of the opposite sex isn’t that dissimilar from training a dog; you need to be firm and persistent.” 4 likes
“But, these days, fairy-tale endings come in all shapes and sizes. It’s okay for the princess to end up with the prince, it’s okay for her to end up with the footman, it’s okay for her to end up on her own. It’s also okay for her to end up with another princess, or with six cats, or to decide she wants to be a prince. None of those make her any more or less a feminist.” 4 likes
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