Quirky Characters Whose Lives Changed…For The Better.

Their journeys were often long, confusing, and even occasionally dangerous, yet just when it seemed like nothing would change for these unconventional characters— everything did.

1) Bartholomew Neil (aided by his spiritual guide Richard Gere), from The Good Luck of Right Now

“Maybe you are meant to help me, Richard Gere, now that Mom is gone.”

“Maybe you, Richard Gere, are Mom’s legacy to me!”

It’s not every day that you find a letter from Richard Gere in your mother’s drawer. For 38-year-old Bartholomew Neil, this rather extraordinary discovery catapults him into a journey to find a possible connection between his late mother and the Hollywood A-Lister. After the death of his mother, Bartholomew Neil turns to Richard Gere for help and advice. Through a series of personal, humorous, and heartwarming letters addressed to Richard himself, Bartholomew bares his soul while entertainingly recounting the quirky moments and people in his life, from his opinionated therapist, Wendy, to the Girlbrairian he can only speak to telepathically (he’s not telepathic, so this proves problematic).

With Richard Gere at his side (spiritually, of course), he embarks on a crazy road trip alongside the Girlbrarian, her cat loving brother, and the local struggling Priest all the way to Canada to find his father– and hopefully answer a few pressing questions he has about his family along the way. Bartholomew’s journey proves it’s never too late to journey down a new path.

2) Don Tillman, with a little help from Rosie Jarman, from The Rosie Project

“And how could I be sure that other people were not doing the same—playing the game to be accepted but suspecting all the time that they were different?”

In Graeme Simison’s The Rosie Project, Genetics Professor Don Tillman is not afraid to tell it like it is. If Don weren’t so charmingly honest, he might even be called offensive. Frustrated with the lack of love in his very scheduled- to the point- life, Don decides to create a scientific survey called The Wife Project that will reveal his ideal mate through a selection of carefully selected questions. One question wrong, and the “applicant” is shown the door. Nothing is negotiable—especially if you’re a smoker. Don couldn’t be more pleased with this idea—until he meets Rosie Jarman, and the straitlaced, punctual life he knows is never the same.

An immediate write off for The Wife Project, sassy and unpredictable Rosie shows up on Don’s doorstep and he soon finds himself in a world of excitement and unpredictability, and as much as he tries to deny it, he’s happier than he’s ever been. Don’s unconventional, emotional journey with Rosie has him wondering if maybe feelings aren’t so terrible after all… and maybe, just maybe, not everything in life can be summed up in a survey.

3) Allan Karlsson The 100 Year-Old-Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared

“People could behave how they liked, but Allan considered that in general it was quite unnecessary to be grumpy if you had the chance not to.”

Allan Karlsson is turning 100 and is about to attend a birthday party he didn’t want to begin with. After living a life full of adventure and intrigue where he participated in some of history’s most important milestones, Allan decides to live it up one more time and instead of going to his party—he climbs out the window. On his 100th birthday, in fact, and finds himself living out yet another one of his legendary adventures involving criminals, a lot of money, and some truly inept policemen. Jonas Johansson’s The 100 Year-Old-Man is a heartwarming, quirky tale of a life lived to its fullest, featuring a protagonist who proves age really is just a number. Adventures are timeless.


4) The Senior League Residents of the Diamond Home from The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules

The acclaimed Swedish bestseller introduces readers to the Senior League residents of the Diamond-Home: Martha Anderson, The Genius, The Rake, Christina, and Anna-Greta who revolt when they discover their home is undergoing new management. With extreme cost cutting in effect, the friends ponder if their lives wouldn’t be better in a prison, and soon a full blown heist is set in motion. From a robbing at a nearby hotel, to a theft at an art museum, the five residents soon find the Mafia hot on their trail and their epic adventure takes off from there, inviting readers along for the ride. The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules reminds readers that it’s never too late to embark on a journey that takes you far from where you started; learning things about yourself you never would have had you not taken a chance.

5) Heart from Ask Again Later

“If everybody jumped off a cliff, would you?”
“If there were a kick-ass party at the bottom of the cliff, I absolutely would.”

Despite the importance of relationships, and of course Prom, 17-year old Heart has no interest in romantic entanglements. Determined to set herself apart, Heart orchestrates a rather quirky way of deciding who she should attend prom with when two surprise invites turn up at her doorstep—flip a coin of course. What follows is not at all what Heart had in store, and she soon realizes that when it comes to love and relationships, nothing ever turns out the way you plan it. Will Heart’s journey lead her down a path with The Jock, or with the mysterious theatre guy with a secret? Heart’s flip of a coin allows her to live out both dates with equally surprising outcomes.

6) Nombeko from The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden

Nombeko Mayeki was never supposed to live such an adventurous life. In fact, for most of the people who grew up in her poverty stricken town of Seweto weren’t even destined to grow up at all. But Nombeko’s life takes a surprising turn when she is promoted from housekeeper to Position of Chief Advisor to the King of Sweden. In an exciting plot that merge fiction with reality, Nombeko finds herself at the centre of a mystery involving the seventh nuclear missile developed by South Africa (a missile that was, quite frankly, never supposed to have existed at all), and now Nombeko knows far too much about this well-guarded secret. As it turns out, being on the run from the South African Justice System and a truly scary Secret Service troupe makes for a life changing, adrenaline-charged adventure. Stay tuned to find out what happens on this charming and exciting journey from Jonas Jonasson, author of  The 100 Year-Old-Man, in April!

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Digital Marketing Coordinator at HarperCollins Canada. Film, fiction and fashion blog enthusiast. Follow me on twitter @SavvyReader & @ktvncnt.

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