“Olive Kitteridge” Review

Elizabeth Strout’s novel Olive Kitteridge is much more a collection of short stories all revolving around, Olive Kitteridge.  Thirteen tales of life, love, loss, happiness, hautiness and hopefulness.  Mrs. Kitteridge is a schoolteacher in the small town of Crosby, Maine; she is married to the local pharmacist and raising one son, Christopher.   Proceeding chronologically through Olive’s lifetime, Olive Kitteridge explores the intricacies of small town life and the role of one woman (and her husband) in the lives of so many others.  From lovers, affairs of the heart, parenting, teaching to every other corner of life, this novel draws emotion from the everyday amblings of characters in Crosby Maine; it also touches on the extraordinary moments, both positive and negative, that we encounter through our lives.  Olive’s impact on her son, husband, students and fellow townspeople can be seen thoroughly through the course of the novel.

If you like a good novel, but are short on time or attention, in all likelihood this book is for you.  Strout draws on her own emotions through the course of life to write a novel that is “emotionally possible”; more so than that though, it is plausible.  Most importantly, we walk with Olive through the phases of life (including the many phases of love).  We see her through tragedy, triumph and the wears of everyday life.

“But here they were, and Olive pictured two slices of Swiss cheese pressed together, such holes they brought to this union – what pieces of life took out of you”   ~Elizabeth Strout

Copyright 2011: Reads of a Ragger. All rights reserved. No unauthorized use permitted; all derivative works must have prior approval.

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