genericwhitegirl’s CBR #17: Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

Olive Kitteridge is the 2009 fiction Pulitzer winner. If you’ve been reading my posts, you may know how I feel about major award winners…

This is another one I don’t really get. The story is okay, there are some interesting bits, but I really wasn’t enveloped by the book.

Basically, the book is about a woman from a town in Maine called Crosby. Each chapter is a short story about a character in the town and their relation to Olive or some part of her family. There’s marriage stress, death, divorce, family drama, even a hostage situation. I guess this all sounds like it could be exciting, but I found the book to be almost mundane. A lot of the “drama” was more every day, every family kind of drama and I didn’t understand why I would want to invest in Olive or her family. How was she different from anyone else? (But maybe that’s why the book is so special?) And the really interesting parts stopped too short – they didn’t last for more than a chapter.

But as I said, this was a big winner so maybe I should provide an alternate review…here’s the New York Times’ take on Olive Kitteridge.


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