?

Log in

No account? Create an account
gertrude

July 2018

S M T W T F S
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
293031    

Tags

Powered by LiveJournal.com
reading

Olive Kitteridge, Elizabeth Strout



First off, ignore the silly cover of this book. What were the publishers thinking? It has nothing at all to do with the story. Olive Kitteridge is a retired maths teacher living in a small coastal community in Maine. When I started the book, I imagined it would tell her life story through flashbacks but it’s actually a series of stories. In some Olive is the main character, so that we see her relationship with her husband and son; in others she’s merely 'my old math teacher'. 'What will you think of her?' asks the front cover (I was expecting to find book club notes at the back, but no). Olive is certainly not very likeable. She’s physically large and unattractive, she snaps at her husband and alienates her only child. By the end of the book one feels a little more sympathetically towards her, but not much. I suppose this is the author being realistic. The descriptions of the so-called ordinary lives of ordinary people in small town America are reminiscent of Fannie Flagg but, sadly, without her humour. Reading Flagg, you can believe that there are people in the world who are, you know, happy. I can’t think of a single happy character in Olive Kitteridge and there’s an unusually high suicide rate. So, although it’s well done, I found this a deeply depressing book and will be glad to take it back to the library. Thank goodness for Anne Tyler, say I.

Comments

(Anonymous)

The edition I read had a green leaf on the cover. I agree with all you wrote, but I still loved it. Go figure! If you want to know more about my feelings, I did a book report last summer:

http://lettersfromahillfarm.blogspot.com/
2009/07/olive-kitteridge-by-elizabeth-strout.html
That was an excellent review you wrote! I can see that it's good and why you liked it, I just found it too bleak myself.
I've been tempted by this one, but now I think that I will pass on it.
As I say, it is good, I just didn't like it!