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Elizabeth Strout writes as I can only dream of. Her writing is straightforward and direct. Reading her words, I never feel like she's deserted any effort. This is a smooth trick to master and she's done it. I first became acquainted with Olive Kittredge seeing Frances McDormand play her is the HBO mini-series. Surprisingly, I so enjoyed this portrayal, this story, that I sought out the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name. Seeing this continuation of Olive's story brought me joy' reading it brought even more joy. I wish this story, this character, this book, would go on endlessly. Like life itself, I imagine there are so many more stories to tell.
I loved this book. Loved the honest portrayal of aging, especially the honest discussions of aspects of aging that most people don't discuss so openly. I loved the reflections on life, relationships, self-acceptance and uncertainty. It all felt real and resonant.
After reading all the Elizabeth Strout books, I didn’t want to read this one! It’s the last. You know she’s not coming back again, Olive that is, and I didn’t want to say goodbye. Although when I first read Oliver Kitteridge, I didn’t feel this way. In between, I’ve realized that fiction is a beautiful way to learn how to be a better person and how to live your life. Before I thought that was only possible through fact-based stories based on what really happened in someone’s actual life. Fiction is made up and nobody likes to be lied to.
Good fiction, though, is like a swim in a cool river on a hot day. You need it to lose yourself for a while, to enjoy being alive, to feel what it’s like to let go and let someone else take control of your brain. And this author is incredible in the way she sucks you in to her beautiful small town world and takes you through situations where you can’t help but going along with all of it and carrying it in your head for a long while afterward.
Olive Kitteridge is one of those stories where you wonder why you love her so much. Until you realize that she’s honest, insightful, caring, and lovable in an old-fashioned, small-town New England way.
I re-read Olive Kitteridge again just to familiarize myself to the characters and to get lost in them again for a while before reading this, and in addition, just read all of the author’s books in the last month or two. Good thing because even characters from her first book return and tie up their loose ends in this book. It was beautiful to see them again, getting old, finishing up their life, seeing how they ended up. And yes, I know it’s not real, but it’s really good.
If I can suspend belief to lose myself in fiction this gorgeous, it must be good. It’s like enjoying the sunrise on a park bench when the leaves are turning orange while drinking your favorite hot beverage. What could be better?
Everything literary fiction should be: wonderful writing, subtlety, strong voice and character development, thoughtful and thought-provoking themes to ruminate on. Olive Kitteridge will go down as one of the most incisively drawn of modern literary characters.
The flow of the book was disorganized and jumped around too much. So parts were written well, but others dragged on. I would not recommend.
Olive marries a fellow from the town she lives in a few years after her 1st husband Henry, dies. She is the same indomitable woman she’s always been , but those whose lives she crosses are enriched by interactions with her. the story weaves together the lives of townsfolk with Olive and of her with her son and his family. She ages gracefully with a friend Isabel, who lives in the same apt/ care centre that she lives at and they develop a real friendship.
Although I enjoyed the first Olive book, this one seemed very disjointed. The forays into the lives of so many people did not hold the story together as a whole in any way. I felt this was an attempt to write more about a a fascinating character, but too much filler made it tedious. I found I just skipped over some of the stories as it began to feel like a collection of short stories, unresolved ones, rather than a novel. Generally I really like the writing of Strout.
I love Elizabeth Strout's books, and this second book about Olive Kitteridge did not disappoint. To me, it is a powerful story about human beings with all our triumphs, failures, quirks and beliefs, and the questions about life and living that we strive to answer along the way. I loved being able to catch up again with Olive and the people of Crosby, Maine.
I liked this book, although I hadn't read the previous novel about Olive. Life is hard, we get old, we lose our friends and spouses and our bodies become frail and broken. Our relationships with those we love are failed or barely functioning. We get sick, we die. Sometimes, if we're lucky, we experience moments of supreme happiness, joy, connection, love.
Love Olive! This is part two in the life of Olive Kitteridge, her second marriage, the relationship with her estranged son, and different people she encounters. She is a lonely widow living in Crosby, Maine. I’d recommend reading the first book “Olive Kitteridge” for a better understanding of who Olive is.
I enjoyed this book tremendously, even more than the first Olive . Probably because it was read by Kimberly Farr on a preloaded Play Away. She did a fantastic job!
Olive is a person who speaks her mind with little regard for how it sounds. At times endearing but not always. She feels deeply but seems to have little understanding of herself and others. She ends up being a rather lonely person because of how she judges others but she will say she does not. Now i have to read the first book.
It would have been a better read if the author had not been so inclined to insert her personal political opinions throughout. I read to enjoy and escape. If I want to hear about politics I'll turn on the TV. Too many characters with their stories left hanging in this book. Olive is her usual self and I did get some laughs from her antics.
I hadn’t read the first book in this series but it didn’t stop me from enjoying this one. Crusty, old Olive is quite a character. I feel like I have seen different parts of her in people I have encountered over the years. A refreshing change to the types of novels I often read, I quite liked it.
This was hard to follow and very disjointed. I connected with Olive, the main character, but there were too many side stories that felt obsolete for me.
From NPR - 'Olive, Again poignantly reminds us that empathy, a requirement for love, helps make life "not unhappy."' If you like books, as I do, that encompass ordinary lives and find meaning in day to day life, this book is for you.
Olive is back at it, taking down criminals and saving the world from total destruction. 🤣 Olive Kitteridge is a no-nonsense woman entering her golden years following the passing of her husband. She navigates her later years in life and muddles through loss and loneliness while encountering a charming and eccentric cast of characters. Olive is gets caught in the middle of some situations as where. There are baby showers and unexpected births, poets with vendettas, new romances, and trying to maintain a relationship with her son. This book feels progressive and reflects the changing times though Olive’s eyes with Somali immigrants, lesbians, and modern family competitions.
I never read “Olive Kitteridge” despite it’s Pulitzer winning status and near universal praise. I thought this was funny, charming, sad, and very readable. I was sucked into this world in Maine quickly, and I enjoyed my time in Crosby. The situations are outlandish but feel grounded. The book is fully of curmudgeonly characters trying to make it from one day to the next in a changing country as they are getting older. I found several parts very sad with a palpable lonliness. The book is mostly a series of snapshots in Olive’s life as she gets older, in chronological order. There are a few stories where she’s a tangential character, but she still has an arc. I really enjoyed the book and I’ve requested “Olive Kitteridge” from the library.
Please, don't let one reader's comment that Olive, Again is "not an uplifting portrayal of old age," dissuade you from reading, or in my case, listening to this superb book. In the 1st few chapters, I found it to be hilarious, just what I needed during my surgery recovery! However, then it turns to the less bright, if not dark side of life. Most of us experience both parts and many shades in between the dark and bright. So, I persisted to rate it as my favorite 'novel' of the year. Strout has the writing ability to provoke true reflection on life as we find ourselves as older/ old. This is important- who are we? Even if we do know, as Olive does not, there are yet possibilities to stumble through more helpfully to others, just as Olive manages. Amazing. Her Crosby comrades are each & every very real, unique, managing on some level. And, like here in Central Oregon, those around us could use a better friend, & better brief encounters with others.
Oh, Olive, welcome back! These stories seem like such honest portrayals of both the the weird and everyday experiences of people’s lives and minds. Such simple, true writing.
It was interesting to recognize characters from The Burgess Boys, not an “Olive” book, but, of course, from the same small town of Cosby, ME.
Like the original Olive Kitteridge book, Olive, again is a series of linked short stories where Olive Kitteridge appears at some stage- a bit like Alfred Hitchcock in his movies. The stories are all set in Crosby, Maine which appears to an Australian reader as the quintessential East Coast American town. Sometimes the chapter is about Olive’s life, at other times she just has a walk-on part with the focus on someone linked to her. What is common to all chapters is a clear-sighted wisdom about human limitations and frailties....
I absolutely loved these stories, and found myself rationing them out to just one chapter a day to make it last longer. Frances McDormand, who starred in the HBO television series now completely inhabits the Olive Kitteridge in my mind as the large, ungainly, abrupt and socially awkward woman who is almost oblivious to her (often negative) effect on other people. But this is an older Olive, who remarries after her first husband dies, and now needs to negotiate her estranged son and his new second-marriage family, with all the nuances of step-vs-natural children. Her health is failing; people are dying; she moves into aged care. Finally, after all these changes, she mellows somewhat.
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Oh Olive! It has been a great pleasure to have gotten to know you. Your humanity is so real and you speak so eloquently for so many of us. I will miss you.
Again, wonderful writing, but this is not an uplifting portrayal of old age!