Publisher: Random House
About: Pushy maths teacher inspires others
Style: 3rd person
Where: (US, New England)
At times stern, at other times patient, at times perceptive, at other times in sad denial, Olive Kitteridge, a retired schoolteacher, deplores the changes in her little town of Crosby, Maine, and
in the world at large, but she doesnt always recognize the changes in those around her: a lounge musician haunted by a past romance; a former student who has lost the will to live; Olives own adult
child, who feels tyrannized by her irrational sensitivities; and her husband, Henry, who finds his loyalty to his marriage both a blessing and a curse.
As the townspeople grapple with their problems, mild and dire, Olive is brought to a deeper understanding of herself and her life-sometimes painfully, but always with ruthless honesty. Olive
Kitteridge offers profound insights into the human condition-its conflicts, its tragedies and joys, and the endurance it requires.
Olive’s private view is that life depends on what she thinks of as ‘big bursts’ and ‘little bursts.’ Big bursts are things like marriage or children, intimacies that keep you afloat, but these big
bursts hold dangerous, unseen currents. Which is why you need the little bursts as well: a friendly clerk at Bradlee’s, let’s say, or the waitress at Dunkin’ Donuts who knows how you like your
coffee. Tricky business, really.
Funny, wicked and remorseful, Mrs. Kitteridge is a compelling life force, a red-blooded original. When shes not onstage, we look forward to her return. The book is a page-turner because of
San Francisco Chronicle
Not so good:
Generally, I enjoyed this unique book, although it was a bit depressing at times. I understand first-hand that bad things happen in every life and part of life is dealing with these challenges,
but I would have preferred a more upbeat view of life. The stories had moments of hope and optimism – and a nice ending – but there were also an awful lot of suicidal thoughts, infidelity, and
yearnings for something different in this small community.
Sue Jackson Book by Book Fiction review
About the author
Elizabeth Strout is the author of Abide with Me, a national bestseller and Book Sense pick, and Amy and Isabelle, which won the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction and the
Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize. She has also been a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Orange Prize in England. Her short stories have been published in a number of magazines, including The
New Yorker and O: The Oprah Magazine. She is on the faculty of the MFA program at Queens University in Charlotte, North Carolina, and lives in New York City.