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?

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