Olive Kitteridge

Read this book

Elizabeth Strout

Reading this book, I found myself left with a saddened feeling.

Many books about people, what usually makes a successful tale, is how the protagonist overcomes something. The protagonist is faced with a challenge and has to take action to overcome or succumb. While there are elements of that in this book, those elements are minor. This book is more about life happening to the people in the book; mostly without them realizing it. And then those people coming to terms with life that happened.

While the book is titled Olive Kitteridge, it’s really about everyone in her life. Each chapter is a short story about someone else in her town and they all can be read independently; several stories are about Olive too. She will show up in every story in one way or another, but the book is about the whole town. I remember vividly when I realized as a kid that everyone I pass on the street has a rich inner world, like mine. This book expresses an element of that idea, that each person in her town is affected by, and connected with the protagonist. And life is happening to them all.

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