Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Olive Kitteridge

Book: Olive Kitteridge

Author: Elizabeth Strout

Short Summary:
This is a book of 13 short stories taking place in the small coastal town of Crosby Maine. Although each chapter is its own story, there are reoccurring characters that we meet that weave these stories into a novel. The one thread that holds the entire story together is the retired school teacher, Olive Kitteridge. Although she is only briefly mentioned in a few of the stories, we get to know her, her family, and her world through the pages of the book. The story is told in a linear manner, showing the aging and growth of the characters through the years.

My thoughts:
This was one of the best books I read this year. Even the characters we meet only briefly are extremely well developed and real. Olive, the main character, made such a great point to revolve this book around. I didn’t always love her character, in fact sometimes I wanted to flat out yell at her, but this just contributed to making the book that much more real to me. I found her most endearing moments to be when she was interacting with teenagers or former students. Since she was a retired school teacher, although often a feared one, this appeared to be the population she somehow connected with the best. She could be harsh, but beneath the rough exterior, I do believe Olive had a good heart. One theme I found throughout the book was the power of living. Life in this small town could be very difficult for the characters we meet, but each character still clung to life with all they had. This book makes for a great book club discussion and I would highly recommend it.

My Rating: 4.5/5 stars


  1. I keep hearing the best of things about this book and it is definitely near the top of my mountain of books to read in 2010. I'm glad you recommend it so highly!

  2. I have this one on my bookshelf but I haven't gotten to it yet. Your review makes me want to pull it off the shelf ASAP!