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REVIEW: The Cactus

“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.”

Why Did I Read This Book?

Similar to The Flatshare, this was a book I read because it was Beth’s Book Club’s bonus book for March. I had seen it floating around Instagram but personally I didn’t think it was my kind of book. A few of my friends who are part of the book club were raving about it and I thought…ah well, why not ey!

What Did I Think?

I enjoyed this book because I warmed to the narrator and her story straight away. I managed to fly through this one but I know that others had difficulty warming up to her and her personality. This book has a strong ‘Eleanor Oliphant’ vibe, as I would say that Susan’s behaviours are very similar to those of Eleanor. That is perhaps why I adored the character of Susan so much. 

I loved how people during the book club discussion were referring to the main character, Susan, as ‘prickly’ because it coincides brilliantly with the title of the book, and I can 100% see what they mean. Susan likes things done a particular way and everything is set in stone. She doesn’t really enjoy interacting with other people and keeps herself to herself. That’s how she likes it and that’s how she has got by for years without any problems.

“If it wasn’t for the fact that I have colleagues, office life would be bearable.”

Yet she falls pregnant unexpectedly and this really puts a spanner in the works for our Susan, who has only ever had to look after herself. As the pregnancy and the book progresses, we gradually learn more about our narrator’s history and this slowly begins to provide clarity on why she behaves like she does. I think the way that the author, Sarah Haywood, introduces Susan’s background through little memories is a really great way of developing both the character and the story and by the end, I was totally in awe. 

Family is a theme that runs throughout the book and is one that is explored through many different relationships. I love how we have so many examples of different families running through this book and I think that’s what makes this book just that extra bit more special.

Susan has an unbearable younger brother. I mean, I thought I had the most annoying younger brother in the world but it turns out there are worse out there. Her relationship with her brother is tarnished from the start and as events transpire, we go on a journey with our narrator to learn about the secrets of their family’s history.

I really did enjoy this book and even more so because I got to discuss it with other readers and book fanatics over at Beth’s Book Club. If you haven’t checked it out yet, I would wholeheartedly recommend doing so as it is a fantastic community of book lovers.

The Cactus

Rating: 3 out of 5.

12 thoughts on “REVIEW: The Cactus”

  1. I’ve been interested in reading this book ever since Reese’s Book Club had it as one of their picks. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh my god, I saw this review on my feed and I thought “Hmm, gives me Eleanor Oliphant vibes”, and then I saw that you’ve said the exact same thing, so that got me really excited!
    This book sounds fascinating, I’m definitely adding it to my list!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This book and The Flat Share are both on my tbr, but I haven’t been able to get my hands on a copy of either yet?! I think I’m just going to have to bite the bullet and buy eBooks hahah

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah sometimes I just have to have the paperback but when it’s impossible to get my hands on a copy, it’s got to be an eBook! I think both The Cactus and The Flatshare are 99p on Amazon Kindle right now if that’s helps any!


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