Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Olive Kitteridge

I have to say, I was disappointed with this book. I had expectations that were not met and I was left feeling a little let down.

Olive Kitteridge is a novel of short stories. All of these stories are of different characters who are in big ways or small tied to the woman Olive. I had the impression that I would be left feeling uplifted and even, maybe, have a new love for something in this world. Instead, I was left feeling kind of sad. Was this just me? Maybe. Maybe I just was not in the mood to read something with so many solemn events. Maybe, due to the glorious spring weather, I really just needed to read something that was quick paced and happy.

Olive is tough and rude and full of memories. There is a lot of death, a lot of loneliness, a lot of blame. It takes place in a small town and many people think "Oh, small town life! you know all about each other so how could you feel lonely?" But people can feel lonely no matter how many friends they have... especially in a small town... especially if people have this predestined perception of you. (I should know, all I've ever known has been small towns. Hell, my graduating class was the largest the school ever had- all 79 of us).

The writing is good though, don't get me wrong. Elizabeth Strout writes beautifully. Her descriptions are so clear that you are left without any doubt as to how characters are moving or acting. The details of their surrounding area is painted clearly and she does this all in a very concise manner. She doesn't ramble on for pages just to describe the in-coming tide. She gets straight to the point and makes that point very well.

She also does a fantastic job in making the characters clearly different from one another. However Olive, the lead, falls short to interest me. Maybe if it were a different season (winter) and I wasn't so easily distracted and already having a mind flitting like that of a hummingbird I'd have found this book to be more interesting.

Unfortunately, I failed to see the greatness of the novel. I failed to see how it won a Pulitzer. My apologies to Elizabeth Strout (not like you care, because you have a friggen Pulitzer!) but this book simply did not entertain me and it left me feeling let down.

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