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I found the third-to-last and second-to-last stories to be an annoyance (the one about the two young sisters whose mother tried to shoot her daughter's boyfriend and the one about the disturbed young preacher's daughter). These were two very depressing short stories that really had nothing to do with Olive (with just the barest of references to brief comments she had made to characters in these stories as a teacher, years before). I'm wondering, did the publisher tell the author she needed to add another hundred or so pages to the book?
Pulitzer Prize worthy
(Really a four and a half)
Olive is someone I didn't like, then I did, then I didn't, and at the end she was someone I was able to understand and accept for who she was. I am certain there is a lesson or two for each of us in this well paced and intriguing work.
This is definitely a great choice for a book club.
Olive Kitteridge is strong, sassy, thoroughly opinionated and totally lovable. The stories that Elizabeth Strout uses to tell us about Olive are so well written and so detailed that you really get to know the character. Just When you think you know Olive's story, she goes and surprises you. When I re-read this book, I realized that there all parts of Olive in many of my friends. I have lent this book to a few of my girlfriends and we have all agreed that this is one of our favorite books. I totally recommend this book to anyone who likes to about strong women who can make their own way in the world.
Every year in June, our book club has a get-together to choose our books for the up-coming season. We live an hour's drive away from the closest book store, so all our books must be chosen- which we do by voting - before we all disperse to do our book-shopping over the summer, or on-line of course. My choice for this year will be Olive Kitteridge, which I've just finished reading for the second time, first because there are so many rich topics of discussion in this novel, second because we all live in a small community where everyone is known to everyone else, and lastly, because I recognize myself - and many of my book club friends - in this novel - and not always in a flattering way!
I'm not a big fan of short stories, but the appearance of Olive in each of these thirteen stories makes the connection between them flow so smoothly and logically, it seems like both a novel and a series of short stories at the same time. I first read the book a year ago in one sitting, then this more recent reading took over two weeks, as I read one story every day or so. Both ways of reading were rewarding, but I'd give the edge to the one-story- a- day method.
I look forward to sharing this with my book club!
This book brings to light the plight of facing the results of life choices. Told through thirteen different character's stories, which in their own way speak of small town American. Each have their unique connection to Olive. As she struggles to see herself, and understand the perceptions of those around her, she gives us a glimpse into how alone and yet how connected we all are. I enjoyed the fact that each character's story can be read and stand on its own, and also the fact for better or worse, Olive makes an indelible impression on each. Most of us have no idea how we appear to others, and most of us think others are thinking what we are and for the same reasons. Olive is as fragile as anyone, cloaked by a sizable dose of spunk, a dash of courage and an ability to see through the fluff. Olive leaves us with much to ponder, a sure sign of a good read.
I always read the Pulitzer Prize winners, but rarely seem to enjoy them. This was an exception. I loved this collection of 11 short stories. Depending on the story, Olive Kitteridge was sometimes the main subject, sometimes she was only mentioned in passing, and sometimes she was the secondary character. As each story goes by, you feel a different emotion for Olive, but overall, I really liked her, flaws and all. Each story had an ending where the reader could imagine many different alternate endings. I thought that would put me off, but I found the author made the stories more powerful that way. This would be an excellent choice for a book club wanting a great discussion on a variety of topics in the same book.