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White Oleander (Oprah's Book Club) Paperback – May 1, 2000
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As Astrid bumps from trailer park to tract house to Hollywood bungalow, White Oleander uncoils her existential anxieties. "Who was I, really?" she asks. "I was the sole occupant of my mother's totalitarian state, my own personal history rewritten to fit the story she was telling that day. There were so many missing pieces." Fitch adroitly leads Astrid down a path of sorting out her past and identity. In the process, this girl develops a wire-tight inner strength, gains her mother's white-blonde beauty, and achieves some measure of control over their relationship. Even from prison, Ingrid tries to mold her daughter. Foiling her, Astrid learns about tenderness from one foster mother and how to stand up for herself from another. Like the weather in Los Angeles--the winds of the Santa Anas, the scorching heat--Astrid's teenage life is intense. Fitch's novel deftly displays that, and also makes Astrid's life meaningful. --Katherine Anderson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
More About the Author
She attended Reed College in Portland Oregon, graduating with a degree in history, and attributes much of her storytelling ability to her training as an historian. Since then, she has worked as a proofreader, typesetter, graphic artist, newspaper editor, magazine editor, freelance journalist and teacher of creative writing--not to mention Manpower Temp and worst waitress in Los Angeles. If she spilled coffee on you, she apologizes.
Her second novel, Paint It Black, has just appeared in paperback and in Dutch, Italian, Swedish, German, Hebrew and Polish. Jennifer Jason Leigh performs the audiobook. Fitch's first novel, White Oleander was an Oprah Book Club selection, and was translated into 24 languages, including Mandarin, Turkish and Finnish. It served as the basis of a motion picture starring Michelle Pfeiffer, and the audiobook is read by Oprah Winfrey. Her early young adult novel, Kicks, sometimes surfaces. The anthology Los Angeles Noir (Akashic Noir) and Black Clock 7 both carry recent short stories.
Fitch currently teaches fiction writing at the University of Southern California Master of Professional Writing program. She regularly participates in the Squaw Valley Community of Writers summer workshops, and will be teaching at the 2008 Virgina Colony for the Arts' summer program in France. She lives in Los Angeles, in the hills where Rena Grushenka's girls picked trash in White Oleander.
Top Customer Reviews
The story is told from Astrid Magnussen's point of view. She is a young girl (story goes from age 12-18), who lives with her mother, Ingrid, who is a smooth, freeminded poet. They live in an apartment in Hollywood, California. They go to museums, read books by Dmitry and Dostoyevsky, and do poetry readings. Ingrid uses her charm to lure in men and have carefree relationships, but she gets too serious in one of these relationships. After the man breaks it off with Ingrid, she kills him. She is then put into prison and sentenced for life.
So begins Astrid's life of foster care and life altering changes. Throughout the story, Astrid is at 6 different homes, including a children's center. Each home is filled with people and experiences that all take their toll on Astrid and her upbringing. These include: getting involved with a MUCH older man, gun shot wounds, starvation, and a death, to name a few. During her time at these homes, she corresponds with her mother with letters, in which Ingrid is still trying to shape her daughter...even through prison. Astrid soon realizes that her mother wants her to remain unhappy in these homes, so she will still be "needed" by her daughter, and so that she can still influence Astrid into becoming like her.
This is a book where you hope and plead for a good ending, but you're never sure if it will happen or not. This books is remarkable. You'll be mesmorized by Astrid Magnussen adventures (or perhaps this is the repeated story of many fostered children throughout the world).
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I have read this book and I really enjoyed it. But if you buy this book on audio CD narrated by Oprah Winfrey be prepared to be very disappointed. Read morePublished 3 days ago by Cristina
I re- watched the movie a ba-Jillion times and never gets boring I love it so much I read the book and it was just as good.Published 3 days ago by katherine Roman
I usually read historical novels but a friend recommended this book. I was really impressed by the imagery and how well this was written.Published 20 days ago by C. Warner
White Oleander is hands down the most beautiful book I have ever read. It touched me in a way that no book has ever before. Read morePublished 27 days ago by Amazon Customer
I get it: some people hate this book. I have loved it for at least ten years, and reread it many, many times. It's beautifully written, and dark, but I absolutely adore it.Published 1 month ago by ChemicalPink
I read this book because so many people raved about it. The writing itself was good but maybe I wasn't paying attention when I read the book. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Annah
Fitch does wonders with her poetic way of writing in this book. Her references to flowers throughout the book are beautiful. I just loved the imagery throughout the entire book. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Erica Hille
The most beautifully written book I've ever read in my almost 21 years of living. The story is sad, but amazing. The character development is out of this world. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Angelica