This book review of Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout gives you the details about the sequel about this beloved fictional character plus pairings for the book. Olive is a curmudgeon for sure, but one that teaches us about the beauty of life through her quirky interactions with others.
Book Review of Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout
How do I love Olive Kitteridge? Let me count the ways …
Olive Kitteridge is the quintessential curmudgeon in gloomy Maine, in the Pulitzer Prize-winning character-driven book of the same name. At the same time as being a grump, she teaches the reader lessons about life, love, forgiveness, loneliness, regret, motherhood and so many other major topics. In so many ways, Olive is all of us.
While she can feel very fussy at first, she grows on you, and once you “get” Olive, it’s hard not to get engrossed in her world, which feels like “still life” art — a rumination on the ordinary that is extraordinary. Strout so subtly captures real moments of life through the unforgettable character of Olive Kitteridge.
In the sequel, Olive, Again, an Oprah’s book club pick, the reader learns what happened next in Olive’s life after the events of the first book and how she continues to develop as an aging woman, by sneaking a peek into her sometimes awkward and sometimes humorous interactions with characters both old and new.
The most memorable chapters were the ones that dealt with motherhood. It’s one of Olive’s greatest struggles, and she made her most stunning revelations in those chapters.
That being said, some of the most telling moments came in very simple sentences gently sprinkled throughout these books. Here’s a few I thought you would like (It was so hard to pick!):
He looked at the books, and she wanted to say, ‘Stop that,’ as though he were reading her diary.
Oh, she was a crazy woman, privately.
People mostly did not know enough when they were living life that they were living it.
Her son had married his mother, as all men—in some form or other—eventually do.”
One of those things about getting older was knowing that so many moments weren’t just moments, they were gifts.
“When you get old,” Olive told Andrea after the girl had walked away, “you become invisible. It’s just the truth. And yet it’s freeing in a way.”
And if you are doing a 50 States reading challenge, they are great picks for “Maine.”
They aren’t for everyone, but for me, they are books I intend to re-read, because every word counts, and the reader can gain something new from them during each read. Olive Kitteridge is one of my all-time favorite literary characters.
Shop Olive Kitteridge and Olive, Again
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- Make sure you read both of these books first and foremost!
- Watch the Emmy award-winning tv series, Olive Kitteridge (Frances McDormand is superb in it.)
- Watch Oprah’s book club content for Olive, Again.
- Read a popular book about another lovable curmudgeon, A Man Called Ove.
- Read a memoir about ordinary life, nature and grief, with a similar tone — Late Migrations, which was one of Jenna Bush Hager’s book club selections on The Today Show.
I hope this book review of Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout with fun lifestyle pairings was helpful.
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