Five Novels That Will Change Your Outlook On Life
Photo by Vrînceanu Iulia on Unsplash

Five Novels That Will Change Your Outlook On Life

Ellie-Rose Baker June 6, 2022

Books are amazing things, they can make you laugh, cry, feel angry, or relaxed, and some even promise to help change your life.

If altering your perspective is what you want, you have to check out these five novels that will change your whole outlook on life:

‘I Am, I Am, I Am’ by Maggie O’Farrell

Although this novel is non-fiction, its stories are so unbelievable that they can easily be read as fictitious. In seventeen relatively short chapters, O’Farrell details her seventeen brushes with death so far.

Strikingly written, its blunt descriptions of illness, loss and sheer terror will stay with you for a very long time after reading. I often struggle to choose a favourite book, particularly when asked on the spot, but this one is definitely a strong contender.

‘Life After Life’ by Kate Atkinson

Life After Life,Generics,House Productions,Sally Mais

What would you do if you could live your life over and over? If you could perfect all of your mistakes? Would you try to change the course of history? That’s exactly what Ursula Todd does in Kate Atkinson’s spectacular novel.

Since finishing this novel very recently, I haven’t been able to stop thinking of it. It takes the ‘step on a butterfly, changes the future’ idea very literally.

While traversing two world wars over the course of Ursula’s many lives, this novel creates a character who sees her fate and takes it into her own hands. Well worth the read just for the incredible opening chapter.

Check out the recent TV adaptation here.

‘The Midnight Library’ by Matt Haig

In a similar way to Life After Life, The Midnight Library explores the potential life of Nora Seed. However, the 2020 Goodreads Award-winning novel is more fantastical, with each new book in the ‘Midnight Library’ representing a new version of Nora’s life.

A heart-warming look into finding happiness, this novel is written from the author’s very personal experiences with depression and suicide. If you don’t feel a renewed sense of purpose by the time you finish this one, read it again.

‘Expectation’ by Anna Hope

As a new graduate, reading this novel sums up all of my excitement and fears about what is ahead of me. The novel follows Hannah, Cate and Lissa as they navigate university and later, adulthood.

Covering generational issues such as feminism and climate change, Expectation gives you a sense that everything in the world is wrong, but we move anyway. For a renewed sense of hope and solidarity, despite it all, I can’t recommend this novel enough.

‘Wild’ by Cheryl Strayed

Photo by Sébastien Goldberg on Unsplash

One woman, three months, and over one thousand miles. Cheryl Strayed’s memoir, Wild, takes your breath away as it follows her solo journey along the Pacific Crest Trail.

A raw depiction of loss, addiction and finding yourself, it’s no wonder that this novel topped the New York Times Bestsellers list.

I can’t mention this story without the film adaptation starring Reese Witherspoon, which truly gives you an idea of the scale of the PCT itself and Strayed’s emotional journey.

Do you want to know the meaning of ‘you have to lose yourself to find yourself’? Then this one is for you.

Have something to tell us about this article?
Let us know
Ellie-Rose Baker, alumni of the University of South Wales, is an almost adult, tackling the big wide world with an English and Creative Writing degree in one hand, and a cuppa in the other. A Freelance Journalist for Freshered, Ellie-Rose's primary focus' are navigating postgraduate life, climate change and literature. She also takes her writing inspiration from her other roles which include theatre ushering and English teaching.