'I love reading your book reviews. After seeing it on your blog, I went ahead and bought Me Before You..It was a lovely story. Just yesterday, I bought the sequel After You....'
- Shereen M.
Thank you dear friend for reading my book reviews. After what you said, I realised my last book review was more than a month ago! It made me sit up. As I was reading Glory Over Everything, sequel to The Kitchen House, I had completely forgotten about my last book I had finished reading - Olive Kitteridge. This ought to explain a whole lot about this novel, doesn't it? The fact that it had slipped my mind.
My interest in this book was piqued when I read a book review of Olive Kitteridge in Singapore's The Sunday Times a few months back. Someone (I can't remember her name but I believe she was someone newsworthy) had been reading this book and had particularly liked the story. Presuming I would to, I ordered this book online.
Olive Kitteridge the novel by Elizabeth Strout is a 2014 Pulitzer Prize winning collection of 13 stories about a group of ordinary people who lived in Crosby, Maine. It depicts their joys, sorrows, tragedies and grief all centered around a retired school teacher Olive Kitteridge. She deplores the changes around her - a lounge musician haunted by a past romance, a former student who has lost the will to live, Olive's own child who feels his mother is insensitive to his needs and her husband Henry who finds his loyalty to his marriage both a blessing and a curse.
I am sorry to say so bluntly - I didn't quite enjoy this book. I took a long time to finish it (yes I finished it!) and yet it had only 270 pages. No doubt, it was my close companion during my tea in cafes or while waiting for buses or for my girls.. but I found it rather dry, long winded and quite depressing. There were 3 suicides, 3 other deaths, a lot of broken relationships, sad aging folks and a whole lot of loneliness.
I guess no one is immune to loneliness of their soul - no matter how busy they may seem. Probably, that is why this book is so sad - it reminds all of us too much about it. We all are starving on the inside.
Olive finished the doughnut, wiped the sugar from her fingers,
sat back, and said,"You're starving."
The girl didn't move, only said,"Uh-duh."
"I'm starving, too,"Olive said. The girl looked over at her.
"I am," Olive said. "Why do you think I eat every doughnut in sight?"
"You're not starving ," Nina said with disgust.
"Sure I am. We all are."
A Reader's Guide and questions for Book Club discussions are also available at the end of the book. Olive Kitteridge has also been made into a 4 hour TV mini series starring Oscar winner Frances McDormand in 2015.
Available online at amazon for Us$10 paperback version.