Book Review: Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

4 out of 5

SYNOPSIS

“A retired schoolteacher in a small coastal town in Maine, struggling to make sense of the changes in her life as she grows older.”

The book consists of 13 short stories that mostly revolves around Olive Kitteridge and sometimes just lightly talking about her. Because it happens in a small town, everyone knows everybody and knows everything that happens to one another. You see how Olive is perceived by others and how she sees herself.

REVIEW

It took a little while to understand how the story was being laid out – 13 short stories – and to see whose point of view we are reading the story from. The only person you can form a real connection with is Olive and even that is a little confusing. The emotions, her actions and behaviour make it a little hard making it a love-hate relationship. As you read on, you definitely fall in love with how the story is being unfolded.

There are a few climaxes throughout the book and obviously, they impact the characters’ personality and way of lives. You can connect with the incidents on some level where teenagers fall in the wrong sort of group, disrespecting parents, overbearing mother etc. But seeing this from Olive’s view shows her reasoning on why she does what she does. You also see how the other people in the town form a community and generally how people talk about others.

I definitely enjoyed the book. A little rollercoaster of feelings was involved – sympathy, pity, joy. This book was the winner of the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. It was a delight to read (although it was a heavy plot to follow) and I feel that the book gave a fair enough ending for Olive and made it easy to close the book. Again, did not know there was a HBO miniseries but I haven’t had a look at that yet.

What do you think about books being adapted into films etc?

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