Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Olive Kitteridge

Olive Kitteridge   By Elizabeth Strout.    Crosby, Maine is a small quiet town on the coast. Hilly lanes, crashing waves and sea breezes make this an idyllic setting where all the characters know each other in some way. Olive is a school teacher for more than thirty years. She is loved and feared, mostly feared. Each chapter is its own little short story that connects to Olive. Sometimes in a big way and sometimes a very small connection. Olive is married to Henry, described as a kindhearted, extremely lovable character. Olive is difficult to say the least. She has a generous heart but would probably be described as an angry depressive. She flip flops with real emotions of love and sentimentality for the past, to pure bitterness with just about anyone who crosses her path. Olive is hard to like yet the authors writing is so compelling it carries the reader through the pages easily. Not much happens in this small town except for the everyday occurrences of life. Sometimes they are huge, death, divorce, affairs. Some of the lives carry on just wishing they could have more, thinking simplicity is missing life altogether. All the connections have one raw element in common and it is none other than human loneliness. Olive Kitteridge is a quiet story, not a blockbuster. It is both sad and reflective and reminded me very much of my husbands grandmother Lily. Once a reader has put a face and image to a story, it is hard to resist.

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