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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.
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
Beautifully written story. Tragic in many was, but also full of hope. I could not put it down. Highly recommendPublished 6 days 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 14 days 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 25 days ago by Marnie Moore
Well written and engaging story. Not an easy subject matter but it was very well-executed by the author.Published 26 days ago by Irene V. Nasar
The mix of vivid symbolism and subtle poetry makes this book a must read. Absolutely wonderful. At some points it resembles Plath.Published 1 month ago by Annie
Extremely engaging plot, and I love the author's writing style/Astrid's voice. Ingrid was a thoroughly despicable character that occasionally veered into caricature territory, but... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amanda
One of the best books I've ever read. The author is a genius at describing the complicated emotional & intellectual nature of people, their relationships & how our choices are... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Elizabeth Grant Brown