Saturday, May 2, 2009

BOOK: Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout, 270 pages

Pulitzer Winner 2009

I really liked Olive, warts and all.
I liked how the book was a view of a small town in Maine, with many characters.
I liked how we see Olive through her chapters, and how the other people in the town see her and know her.
I liked the idea of a character study from so many angles.
I like how Olive was pretty cranky and self-centered but also could be compassionate.
I liked Olive's husband, Henry and his pleasant, easy-going manner.
I liked that Olive was a math teacher.
I liked the writing.
I like short story collections with overlapping characters, but this isn't really a short story collection - it is a form to develop Olive's character from different character's viewpoints.
I liked the other characters we got to know and their stories, also giving a new perspective on Olive.
I liked seeing Olive's life, and the lives that she touched or had an effect on.
I liked the theme of perspective and how we never know what is going on inside people's houses, marriages, heads.
I really liked Olive, and Olive Kitteridge.


  1. So... what did you like about the book? : )

    I bought this a couple of weeks ago. I can't wait to make space for it in my "currently reading" pile!

  2. I liked it too!

    What I want to know is what didn't you like? Or did you like it all?

  3. I "liked" your review. This is coming up in my rotation of books and I'm really looking forward to this read!!

  4. jspeyton - I enjoyed it, and then had fun writing the review, because Olive shouldn't be likable, and lots of people probably won't like her, but she grew a lot and struggled with life.

    jackie - I didn't like her son! I could see the reason for the conflict, but grow up! He treated her horribly. And I didnt' like the chapters with just one throw away line about Olive, but they served a purpose. And as a teacher, I appreciated how she permeated so many lives, and even if they didn't like her as a teacher, she still affected them, and they quoted her during rough passages of their lives.

    staci - thanks! I hope I didn't build it up too much.

  5. Oh good, this is on my list!

  6. This book must show up here soon or I'll burst!

  7. This was one of my favorite books that I read in 2008. Olive was a great character. Glad it won the Pulitzer! =)

  8. I think I started listening to this, but didn't grab me at the time. I plan to go back to it one day, especially being that I love short stories.

  9. I have this book. I hope to read it soon.

  10. Fantastic review! Really, really great. I love the way you wrote it. I didn't like her son either but when I read she hit him, combined with what we already knew about her mood swings, and the way Henry sort of watched over her to be sure she didn't push the boy too hard -well I guess he has a point. He's better off avoiding her. Yet another sad, but true, part of the book. There are family situations where it is better for the members to not see one another. I've put your link on my book report.


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