Some of our all-time favorite book characters are those who are a bit quirky in a way that sets them apart, like Eleanor Oliphant. These traits can make them misunderstood to the other characters around them, but as a reader, we’re given more insight into their thoughts and motivations.
Before we get in further, it’s important to say that we think their quirkiness is a very positive thing. Our favorite moments are when the characters are accepted and loved by those around them WITHOUT hiding the quirky characteristics that make them special.
One question that comes up in Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine reviews is whether Eleanor is on the Autism Spectrum. The author, Gail Honeyman, has clarified that Eleanor is not autistic, but instead has developed protective behaviors after trauma.
This book list includes characters with a really wide range of different quirks, from moms and grandmas with eccentric flair, to characters that have deeper emotional, or even neurological and developmental, reasons for their quirky behaviors. All these books take a humorous and respectful approach, and none are heavy reads, even when they deal with some heavier issues.
For example, Helen Hoang is an “own voices” author, meaning that both she and the main characters in her books have Asperger’s syndrome. Part of what makes the characters in her rom com books so great is that they help us see the world from an authentic point of view.
Whatever the origin of their quirky traits, we think the characters on the list extra loveable, each in different ways. Sometimes you’ll like the leads from the first page, and in others, your initial opinions may change as you learn more of their backstory – just like real life.
While we wait for another Gail Honeyman book to be released, let’s dig into some of our favorite quirky book characters similar to Eleanor Oliphant.