Monday, November 08, 2010

Olive Kitteridge

Olive Kitteridge is a novel by Elizabeth Strout. The novel takes place in Crosby, Main, where Olive lives with her husband, Henry, and her son, Christopher and teaches math to 7th Grades. In this town there is one church, one supermarket and a hardware store. Strout takes us through the lives of the Crosby residents through mini-stories. It's the presence of Olive in these stories that gives one the feeling of reading a novel.

Strout says, it is through our most intimate relationship that we are revealed. She does a brilliant job in doing just that in this book. It is through her well crafted relationships that each character is introduced to the reader. She is one of those authors that leaves making the conclusion to the reader. Readers' imagination can go wild, to make the ending of some of the characters. I felt the stories ended with ... rather than a . :)

The characters in this book are more middle aged women, and men. Their quest is to adjust to children moving away, to not having to show up to work everyday, to having to spend time with their significant other who may or may not understand them.

Olive's experience is no different than others. Except for her grand presence. She is physically a big woman; and through her actions, she is present through out the book. She is a wife who never realized her husband's true worth, and genuine love for her a mother who loved her only son dearly a feeling that for valid reasons was not mutual, and a teacher who was feared but respected by her students. Sometimes one needs a jolt to realize all the good things she is surrounded with in her life. And for Olive, unfortunately, it had to be Henry's stroke.

There is a lot to be learned about compromise, kindness and forgiveness through the stories in this book.

It's a great book!

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