Five Senior Protagonists for Your Monday

Last week my grandpa went into surgery (luckily nothing too terrible) and is now recuperating in rehab.  Since he's been on my mind lately, I thought it might be interesting to make this week's book sampler about books that feature elderly characters like him. But, these titles don't just "feature" elderly characters--they star them!  Thank you again to our friends at NoveList Plus for providing us with the list of appeals for each book.  If you see something you like here, why not check out their database for some more great suggestions?  As always, you can find them through our website under Research Resources.

A Man Called Ove (Fredrik Backman)

Quirky and sympathetic characters, engaging, thoughtful, witty

Ove just might be the grumpiest man you've ever met.  This cantankerous curmudgeon is a man of strict principles, strict routine, and a very short fuse.  Because of his perpetual scowl, people assume he's a mean old man, but behind his tough exterior, there lies a sadness and longing that Ove keeps well hidden.  When a young couple and their two chatty daughters move in next door to Ove (and flatten his mailbox), what follows is heartwarming and comic story about loss and learning to open your heart again.

The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen (Hendrik Groen)

Quirky characters, funny, moving, engaging

The time might have come for Hendrik to admit that he's old.  But, he certainly doesn't feel old.  Despite the fact that his legs are getting weaker and his doctor appointments more frequent, Hendrik doesn't want to end up lazing around his senior living facility, drinking coffee, and waiting for the end.  So, he decides to bring back the spark of life through a series of misadventures with his friends in the "Old-But-Not-Dead Club".  Told through Hendrik's journal entries, readers won't be able to resist this octogenarian's witty prose and mischievous antics.

The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared (Jonas Jonasson)

Character-driven, intricately plotted, sardonic, upbeat, engaging

Allan Karlsson has just turned 100. Thinking back on his larger-than-life backstory, Allan decides to celebrate the occasion by ditching the big party being held in his honor (that he didn't want anyway), climbing out the window of his nursing home room, and embarking on an unforgettable adventure, involving thugs, several murders, and a suitcase full of cash.  As his adventures unfold, we start to learn more of Allan's history, which involved assisting with the creation of the atomic bomb, friendships with both presidents and tyrants, and much, much more!

Three Things about Elsie (Joanna Cannon)

Complex, character-driven, intricately plotted, unreliable narrator

84-year old Florence has fallen in her flat at Cherry Tree Home for the Elderly.  As she waits to be rescued, Florence contemplates her friend Elsie, a terrible secret from her past (that just might come to light), and the mystery surrounding the newest resident at Cherry Tree--if he's really who he claims to be, then why is he the spitting image of another man who died 60 years ago?

The Story of Arthur Truluv (Elizabeth Berg)

Character-driven, heartwarming, amusing, engaging, likeable characters

Elderly Arthur comes to the cemetery every day to eat lunch at his dead wife's grave.  One day he meets Maddy, a troubled high school senior who has been hanging out at the cemetery to avoid going to school (she has a hopeless crush on a real jerk).  The two of them form a fast friendship that draws them out of their respective isolations, and together with Arthur's nosy neighbor, Lucille, form their own little unconventional family.