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White Oleander (Oprah's Book Club) Paperback – May 1, 2000
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Everything We Keep: A Novel
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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.
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
Unrelenting series of tragic cliches. Perhaps some writers believe that portraying abuse confers depth on a story, this book cheapened it by using one standard tragedy after... Read morePublished 4 days ago by Diane Miessler
Well written story of a young woman thrown to the wolves of the foster care system by a demented and selfish mother. Read morePublished 15 days ago by Monica Galli
I've read this book before and I bought it again just so I could have it to own. NOT acceptable for a young audience.Published 16 days ago by Amazon Customer
I loved this book. The style of writing made me think and really brought me into the story. Astrid's realization that everything she endured really resonated with me. Read morePublished 18 days ago by Debbie Reiley
Beautifully written story. Tragic in many was, but also full of hope. I could not put it down. Highly recommendPublished 1 month ago by Kelly
I would give this more of a 3.5-4. It was very tragic and disturbing, yet innocent at the same time.Published 1 month ago by Vicki Huey
A well written story of redemption and the coming of age with the glimpse into the horrors of the foster care system in LA.Published 1 month ago by Marnie Moore