Monday, June 13, 2011
Book Review: Olive Kitteridge
Elizabeth Strout’s Olive Kitteridge (Random House) is a masterpiece in describing human behavior. The constant in the book, Olive, storms through people’s lives, concerned, condemning, critical. Those whose lives she touches have a variety of opinions, but most see her as intelligent, fearless and daunting. But no one really knows Olive.
Olive Kitteridge takes a glimpse of thirteen different characters, all with their own unique stories. A few stories touch on a younger Olive, but mostly the characters relate to her later years. In a few quick strokes, the author lays people’s lives bare, their secrets exposed. Olive weaves a binding thread, showing how our life-forces bind us to one another.
Olive’s caustic personality, though often humorous, sometimes made me cringe. She is a person I’d love to know, but I’m not sure I’d have the nerve to maintain a friendship.
Olive Kitteridge is a compelling book, full of surprises.