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Friday, January 8, 2010

Book Review:Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

I wasn't sure how much I liked this book as I was reading it early on. It was a quick read and held my interest, the format was just a little different. It centers around a retired school teacher, Olive, but is broken down into short stories of various people in this Maine town, many of which she is just a tiny part in. As I neared the end, I liked the style more and more. In a way you got to know the main character even better because it was also through little glimpses of so many others. The last page was my absolute favorite of the whole book and the message will stick with me. It was perfect for this character I didn't know wether to like, dislike, sympathize with, or want to strangle. I do think the book has a overeall tone of sadness to it, but that doesn't have to be a bad thing. I found myself thinking of my Grandma a lot, not because she reminded me of this woman necessarily but because it's not often you get a book from someone this ages perspective.
Pg. 270
What young people didn't know, she thought, lying down beside t his man, his hand on her shoulder, her arm;oh, what young people did not know. They did not know that lumpy, aged, and wrinkled bodies were as needy as their own young, firm ones, that love was not to be tossed away carelessly, as if it were a tart on a platter with others that got passed around again. No, if love was available, one chose it, or didn't choose it. And if her platter had been full with the goodness of Henry and she had found it burdensome, had flicked it off crumbs at a time, it was because she had not known what one should know:that day after day was unconsciously squandered.
And so, if this man next to her now was not a man she would have chosen before this time, what did it matter? He most likely wouldn't have chosen her either. But here they were, and Olive pictured two slices of Swiss cheese pressed together, such holes they brought to this union-what pieces life took out of you.
Her eyes were closed, and throughout her tired self swept waves of gratitude-and regret. She pictured the sunny room, the sun-washed wall, the bayberry outside. It baffled her, the world. She did not want to leave it yet.

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