An interesting and insightful story about a 45-year-old woman whose mother dies Nf then  she discovers she is pregnant. An excellent book for fans of ELEANOR OLYPHANT IS COMPLETELY FINE and A MAN CALLED OVE or those that enjoy British humor.  The Cactus by Sarah Haywood  #fiction, #reading, #books to read, #books

The Cactus

By Sarah Haywood

Critical Praise:

The Cactus will be compared to Gail Honeyman's Eleanor Oliphant Is Absolutely Fine...there is terrible poignancy' Patricia Nicol The Sunday Times

'Legal battles, lapses of logic and the joys and fears of motherhood are explored in this astute, funny and moving novel of a woman learning how to let go' Daily Mail

'Funny, compelling, well-written ... for fans of Marian Keyes who demand a bit of grit in their comic writing' Emerald Street

'A warm, witty portrait of a woman finally creating the family she deserves' Kirkus

Book Club Talking Points:

There are some poignant life lessons in this story. The fact that sometimes we have to let go in life and allow life to happen is just one. The story focuses on family drama through Susan's complex relationship with her brother. There's also lots to discuss about human vulnerability and creating barriers for protection.
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*Discussion Questions

1. Part of the enjoyment of the novel is seeing Susan soften and let people into her life. What do you think contributes the most to Susan's transformation as a character?

2. How much do you think Susan's childhood shaped her and made her keep the world and relationships at bay?

3. Susan is a type A who likes to keep a tight hold on her control of even the smallest details of her life. Why do you think this is? How does losing control change her life?

4. Rob tells Susan that she'd be good for him and he'd be fantastic for her. Do you think he's right?

5. Whether or not Susan and Edward will continue to play a part in one another's lives is left open at the end of the novel. Should family always stick together, or do we sometimes have to accept that the differences are too great?

6. Discuss how the theme of motherhood plays out in the book. How does Susan's relationship with her own mother impact her attitude about becoming a mother herself?

7. Susan approaches romantic love much like one would approach a business transaction. Do you think Susan has ever experienced true love? Does she come to experience it by the end of the book?

8. Susan Green is a prickly individual. We've all known someone like her, but is there a little bit of Susan in all of us?

9. We only see people and their motives through the eyes of Susan, who isn't always right. Is she honest with herself and the reader?

10. What is the significance of the title?

(Discussion Questions by Publisher)

Book Summary
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 she is about to become a mother herself, Susan's greatest fear is realized. She is losing control.

Enter Rob, the dubious but well-meaning friend of her indolent brother. As Susan’s due date draws near and her dismantled world falls further into a tailspin, Susan finds an unlikely ally in Rob. She might have a chance at finding real love and learning to love herself, if only she can figure out how to let go.
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