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Olive Kitteridge Audio CD – Abridged, Audiobook, CD
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
All of the stories in this book occur in the town of Crosby, Maine. At the center of many of the book's stories is the person, Olive Kitteridge, a retired teacher. In the stories that don't feature Olive, her name may appear only once in an effort to tie it to the larger work. That the stories center on one town, and a limited number of that town's inhabitants, who also reappear from time to time, I did not encounter my usual problems with short stories. This book gently reminded me of what is best about short-stories: a brief slice of a life, a snapshot that tells a complete-enough story. In having all these stories bound together, one feels a bit like the proverbial "fly on the wall"; a fly who may spend most of, but certainly not all, it's time in one particularly interesting home (Olive's).
I especially enjoyed reading about Olive in her post-retirement years, the ways in which she deals with other people and herself. In many ways, I can identify with Olive, having doled out bits of malice in angering situations; or having been soft and tender-hearted during others. Like Olive, I too have been both fool and sage.
I really enjoyed "Olive Kitteridge." Olive is a complex person vacillating between viciousness and compassion. In the way all people are puzzles, so is Olive. In one story she does something deplorable, in another she potentially saves a life.Read more ›
You know that feeling when you're just starting a book? Getting acquainted with the characters? Trying to remember their names, their personalities, what they look like and the surroundings are just coming into focus? This entire book has that feeling because essentially each chapter is a different story. With the exception of Olive, you never hear about a character beyond one chapter. It's as if twenty books were collected, a chapter ripped from each, and placed in this single book. You're introduced, learn the character and are drawn to their story and then it's onto somebody else, never to return and find any conclusions.
I just did not like the separation between story lines. True, this is meant to be a small town collaboration, with Olive as the center character, but sometimes it was a stretch. One particular chapter only mentions Olive once, in a fragment of a sentence that just mentions Olive was the character's teacher in school. Sometimes it just didn't seem the connection was enough to warrant that particular character's inclusion of the story of Olive and ended up being more of a distraction than an addition.
There are also a lot of overlapping details and re-telling of facts. Each person knows Olive, so you hear numerous times her description and certain facts in her life, concerning her marriage or her son. At the end you are very connected to Olive and it is a wonderful character and story.Read more ›
Many of the stories do deal with Olive or her family directly, and we come to know her throughout the book, through her husband's experience of "crushing" on an employee in the first story to her own experiences as she ages and her life changes by the final story. But in other stories, she is a minor character, perhaps mentioned briefly as the main character's former math teacher in high school or as someone another character does not like.
And this aspect become fundamental and almost a secondary theme of the book. As Olive herself remembers her own serious flirtation with another man ("... she had the sensation that she had been seen. And she had not even known she'd felt invisible" [p. 213].), and progresses through later stages of life, we come to see that she is not perfectly lovable -- or perhaps not lovable at all, up close. But she still needs intimacy. "Sometimes, like now, Olive had a sense of just how desperately hard every person in the world was working to get what they needed" (p. 211). She is an emotional anti-hero, and through Strout's tender writing, we do love her.
One of my favorite stories was "Starving" which deals nimbly with all of these subjects, and doesn't feature Olive primarily. Strout's writing is straight-forward, but thoughtful and tender. These people became real to me. I miss them now that I have finished the book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I checked this book out electronically from my local library (a great service by the way!) because I had seen the book at the store many times and new it was well regarded. Read morePublished 1 day ago by Scott Hammond
These 13 stories revolving around a small group of people living in a coastal Maine town is deeply moving and thought provoking. Read morePublished 3 days ago by Mark D. Wilson
The various chapters, or vignettes, in this book are interesting as stand-alone stories. To me, the coherence of them all, in terms of making a single book, is somewhat lacking. Read morePublished 5 days ago by Richard S. Wells
Elizabeth Strout is an amazing story teller and obviously has fabulous insights into people, love reading any of her novels!Published 7 days ago
Great characterisation, wonderful observations, just a pity that the last chapter duplicated so much content from one of her other books, The Burgess Boys.Published 7 days ago by Bronwen Nicholson
Each story, each character delves into the human psyche with truth of joy and despair. The order of the stories seems arbitrary, but actually spins a web that leads back to Olive... Read morePublished 14 days ago by Janie Scott
Olive Kitteridge is unique among short story collections because the stories are connected by a single character; Olive links everyone together. Read morePublished 16 days ago by The Loopy Librarian