Octogenarian Protagonists

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A few years ago, A Man Called Ove burst onto the scene. A book about a cranky curmudgeon whose new neighbors change his life for the better, audiences fell in love with Ove, and were eager to find books just like it. Authors took note and now, more than ever, there are books about older characters that audiences can relate to and root for. Here are just a few of the many books about older characters teaching us a thing or two.

A Man Called Ove: A Novel

Ove is an unlikely hero; curmudgeonly, eccentric, and unusually meticulous. After his life is turned upside down by the death of his wife, he attempts to retreat into his comforting routine, maintaining neighborhood cleanliness, owning the right model of car (a Volvo, of course), and judging other people who don’t conform to his exacting standards. But his sense of order is continuously disrupted by his boisterous new neighbors, as well as by a mangy and insistent cat. This intimate portrait of everyday human relationships is quirky and charming, reflecting on the stories of love and loss that connect us all.

Be Frank With Me

Julia Claiborne Johnson’s debut novel tells the story of M.M. Banning, a reclusive and eccentric American award winning author, and her equally eccentric nine-year old son Frank.  Ms. Banning’s only novel, Pitched, made her a literary superstar and a comfortable living for 30 years.  Now, Mimi, as she is known by her few friends, is forced to write a second novel due to losing her fortune to an investment scam.  Mimi’s publisher sends a young assistant to help her while she completes writing her new novel.

The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper

Arthur Pepper does the same routine every day: out of bed at 7:30, dresses in the same clothes, and then heads out to his garden. On the one-year anniversary of his wife Miriam’s death, Arthur decides to sort through some of Miriam’s possessions, and finds a beautiful charm bracelet that he’s never seen before. Deciding to find out its history and what the charms meant to Miriam, he embarks on an unexpected journey that he’ll never forget.

Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk

Ms. Boxfish, an 85 year old poet and advertising executive, takes a New Year’s Eve stroll around the Big Apple just to meet people.

The One-in-a-Million Boy

Rockstar Quinn Porter has lived the typical musician’s life for years and as a result has been largely absent in the life of his Guinness World Records-obsessed son. When his son suddenly dies, Quinn discovers his son was trying to earn a Boy Scout badge by helping a 104 woman with her yard work, and seeks some redemption by setting out to finish what his son started. What develops between Ona and Quinn is both a friendship and a learning experience, as Quinn not only gets to know Ona, but his son as well.

The Story of Arthur Truluv

Arthur and Maddy, complete strangers, go to the cemetery every day, but for very different reasons: Arthur has lunch with his late wife, and Maddy goes there to skip school. Lucille, Arthur’s neighbor, bakes amazing pastries, but has no one to share them with. What they all have in common is loneliness, and when their paths cross, they’ll all play important roles in each others lives.