Sunday, June 28, 2015

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

Olive with a Hint of Lemon (Glimpses into Different Lives)

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout is about a stern, feared schoolteacher and interconnecting stories of the townspeople whose lives intersect with hers.  Each of the thirteen chapters in this book meanders through the personal struggles and secrets lives of various people in a small Maine town.

The narration was fresh and intriguing.  It was like listening to a friend gossip about neighbors.  Elizabeth Strout had my full attention. Her skillful storytelling made it easy to get lost in the tales of the townspeople—made me feel like I knew them. And although each story brought some type of tragedy or turmoil to light, the book itself was not depressing.  Olive wouldn’t win any Miss Congeniality contest.  She was abrupt and caustic. She was harshly opinionated, and at times she was sour as a lemon. But underneath she was also caring, sensitive, and lonely.  Like everyone, she’s a flawed human being, and I liked getting to know her and the people around her.

This book was made into a 2014 TV mini-series.  I never saw it, but have put it on my Netflix wish-list.  The cast includes Frances McDormand as Olive and Richard Jenkins as her husband, Henry.

This book met several of my 2015 Book Challenges: Read a Pulitzer-prize winning book; read a book that has or will become a movie; read a book with only two words in the title.

Happy Reading,


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  1. I saw the mini-series, and it was amazing - McDormand is fabulous. However, we have the book and I really want to read it.

    1. Good to know--now I'm looking forward to seeing the mini-series even more! Thank you.