Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

At times stern, at other times patient, at times perceptive, at other times in sad denial, Olive Kitteridge, a retired schoolteacher, deplores the changes in her little town of Crosby, Maine, and in the world at large, but she doesn’t always recognize the changes in those around her: a lounge musician haunted by a past romance; a former student who has lost the will to live; Olive’s own adult child, who feels tyrannized by her irrational sensitivities; and her husband, Henry, who finds his loyalty to his marriage both a blessing and a curse. As the townspeople grapple with their problems, mild and dire, Olive is brought to a deeper understanding of herself and her life–sometimes painfully, but always with ruthless honesty.

I am not too sure how I feel about this book. Some of the stories made absolutely no sense to me or had no resolution or little details and I kept waiting for the characters to pop up again but they never did. I liked Olive a lot; she reminded me of myself. It also made me take a step back and look at the way I treat my parents now that I am older. That is the part that resonated with me the most. The way we behave and act toward our parents may seem like no big deal to us and we see nothing wrong with it, but it affects them deeply, and hurts them. I kind of felt like crap when I finished reading it, but it was interesting enough to hold my attention on vacation which is a feat.

3 stars

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