Olive Kitteridge is not just the name of Elizabeth Strout’s Pulitzer Prize winning book, Olive is the heart of this collection of short stories. She is neither warm nor fuzzy. She speaks her mind. In fact she really doesn’t seem to have much of a filter on her thoughts, and she has thoughts about everything: her husband, her son’s new wife, everyone in town.
Even as each chapter is a story, they build one off of the other, in layers, to create a character study of Olive. And whether she is the central character or just passing through – all the stories belong to her. I learned about Olive as a younger woman and the pain that may have made her the hardened woman she was. I felt empathy for Henry, Olive’s long suffering husband. I cringed for Christopher, Olive’s son, as Olive comes to visit him and his new family in New York City.
I found this book enjoyable because it had so much to offer. I didn’t need to love Olive to want to know more about her and the residents of Cosby, Maine. Strout’s storytelling kept me turning the page so that I could learn all of Olive’s facets and try to understand her a little better.
Author: Elizabeth Strout
Published: September 30, 2008 (Paperback; Reprint edition)
Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks