What’s it about?
Olive Kitteridge: indomitable, compassionate and often unpredictable. A retired schoolteacher in a small coastal town in Maine, as she grows older she struggles to make sense of the changes in her life. She is a woman who sees into the hearts of those around her, their triumphs and tragedies.
We meet her stoic husband, bound to her in a marriage both broken and strong, and a young man who aches for the mother he lost – and whom Olive comforts by her mere presence, while her own son feels overwhelmed by her complex sensitivities.
A penetrating, vibrant exploration of the human soul, the story of Olive Kitteridge will make you laugh, nod in recognition, wince in pain, and shed a tear or two.
This book was a group read for my Meetup group and overall I think successful. It isn’t a book I would have chosen for myself but one, overall, I did quite like.
At the start I didn’t find Olive to be a very welcoming or likeable character. She doesn’t seem to have any kind of filter in what comes out of her mouth, at times she has a brutal tongue, but then at times she has a very kind heart – it just took a lot to uncover!
This is a book that feels there’s not much happening and is just plodding along but actually there’s a lot rumbling underneath if you’re prepared to pick it apart. Think of it as a social commentary of small town America, observations of a community put together in a series of short stories that feature Olive, however, I found the chapters that didn’t feature Olive too heavily the most interesting. I didn’t find the book to be uplifting at all, it’s mostly very sad, which made it a challenge for me to pick it up.
Although, during the book and more towards the end, Olive’s physical description just kept reminding me of Mrs Doutbfire which I did find quite amusing. Although, I don’t think it’s supposed to be.
If you enjoy character led books, for example Plain Song via Kent Haruf this will be right up your street
Small print for info
No of pages: 352
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK