Olive Kitteridge; Elizabeth Strout

A group of short stories set in a small town in Maine spread out over thirty years.  Olive Kitteridge is the main character in some stories, just an incidental character in others, but the powerful central force of the book.  Olive is truly an awful woman although I sympathized with her a bit towards the end… just a bit.  I feel that many might say this book is terribly depressing but I really loved it.  The writing is wonderful.  You really are drawn into each character.  The last page or two is the best ending I think I have ever read in a book.

PJH Rating: ****1/2

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3 thoughts on “Olive Kitteridge; Elizabeth Strout

  1. Pat: Glad you read and liked it as much as I did. And like you I grew to like Olive more and more, despite her unrepentant ways, her refusal ever to say ‘she’s sorry’ about anything, as her husband Henry accuses. And despite her acts of kindness, her sympathy at times for the down trodden, she rarely is aware of how her attitude, her tough exterior and talk, affect others, her kind, cheerful husband, Henry, especially her sensitive and lonely son Christopher, whom she no doubt loves, but rarely shows it except through discipline and tough love. I won’t forget her, the people of Crosby, Maine, their simple but authentic lives, desirous of life and love, often thwarted by fate. It’s hard to care about Olive, to sympathize with her self inflicted loneliness, but beneath her armor, like us all, she longs to ‘just connect’, though it scares her, might even seem foolish. This book might be more meaningful to someone my age, just retired, but I think most would enjoy it. All should read it, especially the young who have no understanding of what it means to grow old, as I am sure my mother thought about my youthful foolishness and naivete. I want to read it again.

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