Sunday, October 27, 2013

Olive Kitteridge {A Book Review}

Title: Olive Kitteridge
Author: Elizabeth Strout
Publisher: Random  House
Release Date: March 25, 2008
Summary: from Goodreads
In a voice more powerful and compassionate than ever before, New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Strout binds together thirteen rich, luminous narratives into a book with the heft of a novel, through the presence of one larger-than-life, unforgettable character: Olive Kitteridge.

At the edge of the continent, Crosby, Maine, may seem like nowhere, but seen through this brilliant writer’s eyes, it’s in essence the whole world, and the lives that are lived there are filled with all of the grand human drama–desire, despair, jealousy, hope, and love. 

At times stern, at other times patient, at times perceptive, at other times in sad denial, Olive Kitteridge, a retired schoolteacher, deplores the changes in her little town and in the world at large, but she doesn’t always recognize the changes in those around her: a lounge musician haunted by a past romance: a former student who has lost the will to live: Olive’s own adult child, who feels tyrannized by her irrational sensitivities; and Henry, who finds his loyalty to his marriage both a blessing and a curse. 

As the townspeople grapple with their problems, mild and dire, Olive is brought to a deeper understanding of herself and her life–sometimes painfully, but always with ruthless honesty. Olive Kitteridge offers profound insights into the human condition–its conflicts, its tragedies and joys, and the endurance it requires 

"Had they known at these moments to be quietly joyful? Most likely not. People mostly did not know enough when they were living life that they were living it."
My Take:
Hmm. i think I'm in the middle with this book. I love stories that are somehow interwoven, and I felt that Elizabeth Strout did a good job at interweaving all the stories together. There are thirteen different stories in this book that fit into each other. The one thing that they all have in common is Olive Kitteridge.

Olive is this "larger-than-life" woman, who has no filter. I must be honest from the very first chapter, I knew I wouldn't like Olive. She was rude, and made some rude comments. She was kind of a bitch. As the book progress, i began to warm up to her, although she wasn't my favorite character. At the end she was still a bitch. But  I felt bad for her, her son, and her husband. 

The book takes place in a small town in Maine. It seems everyone knows each other. Olive was a school teacher, and in some of the stories, they mention Olive as being their teacher. Throughout the 13 stories, we see the importance that Olive has on the people in this community. Somehow this bitchy, mean, harsh, strong woman, has taught these people something about love, has given advice, has given them some wisdom. 

The thirteen short stories  gives us a a tiny glimpse of the characters life. The stories deal with marriage, death, loneliness, suicide, eating disorders, parenthood, adultery, sickness, stealing. Everything that happens in real life, happened to this small town. I liked the fact that somehow, whether Olive was physically there, or if the characters remember something she said during class, Olive was present and helping them out in her  own way. 

So I was fifty-fifty. I didn't like the main character all that much, but I did like how not knowing she was able to play a huge influence, like save someone's life. 

My Rating: 3/5
Looking for more reviews, check out my reviews here: Book Thoughts

Have you read "Olive Kitteridge"? What are your thoughts?
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