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Book Review: Olive Kitteridge ~Elizabeth Strout

Beach Umbrella

Beach Umbrella

I got a bit jealous because so many of my friends are retiring and because so many are going on Winter Vacations right now   6 folks left last week for Hawaii and one to Cabo San Lucas , another to Costa Rico, yet another to Palm Springs.  My partner is busy training for a 6 weeks bike tour from Canada to Mexico through the Mountain passes.  Other friends are just back from 2 weeks of skiing and snow hiking; all this coming and going made Yin-Yoga seem mighty like a one person experience.

With the rain returning, wind gusting, and snow on the way, I decided to head vicariously to Maine.   Olive Kitteridge, the novel, has been on my Kindle for months and months and I keep reading about it and the awards that are being suggested for it as well…..I just felt entitled to read for fun for a day.

I wrapped up in my blankie and got a large glass of water: opening the cover I left town.  Wow what a day, it was just the most wonder full book and I was done with it just about bedtime.

The writing style is just superior and cozy at the same time.  It is a series of short stories which take place in a small lobster village in Maine.  Olive is a character with her own distinct story which is the ribbon that ties the whole book into a neat package.   Olive is a big woman, and a tall woman with size 10 feet and she is the math teacher at the local middle school.  She speaks her mind, at times without thinking and then often just at the right instance and place.

I was just sure that any and all of these characters could exist within my own city and that each one was loveable and identifiable even with their special quirks and needs.

Elizabeth Strout teaches writing in North Carolina in the MFA program and lives in New York City.  She is quite the story teller and she must be very familiar with the landscape and characters that live within provincial small towns and villages.

No puppy walks were missed nor towel- down dries after, during the reading of this book, and I am watching while ZIP digs a hole in the sunshine in our back yard as I write this review.   White dog = muddy whiskers!

Olive Kitteridge is a book way up on the top of my list for 2011 and I highly recommend it to all the writers and novelists – heck!  I recommend this book to all who want a delightful, insightful, enjoyable read.

Definitely a delightful  5 ladybug read:

5 Ladybugs

Olive Kitteridge was the 2009 Pulitzer Prize winning book, a novel in stories.  It was nominated for the national Book Critics Circle Award and Strout is a New York Times Best Seller.

This book came on my Kindle    and no one paid or solicited my opinion or asked me to write this review.   I just liked this book and hope that many of you will pick it up and find it just as wonderful as I.  If you order it from my site I will receive a few beans in my bucket.

Have you taken a reading vacation in 2011 yet?  My partner paints and naps when he needs a mini vacation, what is your favorite change of pace activity?

Related Reading, I am sure you will enjoy:
Kindle 2 and 5 things I love about it
Honey Moon Cruise for One
The Element by Sir Ken Robinson
Arm Chair Travelling

Looking forward to your wonderful comments. If you liked what you read here, feel free to tweet, post it on Facebook or subscribe by RSS or email.  Thank you

21 Responses to “Book Review: Olive Kitteridge ~Elizabeth Strout”

  1. Talon Says:

    I love short stories and I love character-driven books, so this is a must-read for me, Patricia. Thank you for the review.

    If we can’t get out of the snow and cold, at least we can be armchair travellers – which is almost as good!

    I like sewing for a change of pace or home renovation projects or sketching…
    Talon recently posted..PassageMy Profile

    patricia Reply:

    I do think this is a must read for you! I thought of you and Davina while I was reading it and how much you would enjoy it. I also thought it could be a format for all your on line short stories into a novel???

    Wow is it snowing here – Winter finally arrived and brrrr cold. I have lots of books to read and always another pair of socks!

  2. vered | blogger for hire Says:

    A reading vacation sounds wonderful! Thank you for the review.

    patricia Reply:

    It was a very special vacation because the book was so good.

  3. Sara Says:

    Patricia — Great review, as always. You make me want to step out my comfort zone and try this book. I tend to read mostly mysteries, but you’ve got my curiosity up with one.

    I also loved how you took a mini-vacation to read it. Perfect idea…especially with the weather being so persnickety.

    My favorite change of pace activity is reading. I love to curl up with a good book.

    Thanks for this review and have a great day:~)

    patricia Reply:

    I think you would like this book – the mysteries of what makes people tick and their actions make consequences later in life that are very interesting. It was a great vacation

  4. Jannie Funster Says:

    Wait — let me stop reading this to make a nice cup of tea, get a nibble and wrap myself in MY blankie before returning to read the rest of this already interesting post, and commenting…

    You will see me back for the “real” comment of this post in a bit…


  5. Jannie Funster Says:

    Sounds like just the kind of read that would fire up my happy dance! Always nice to hear of such a good energy book.

    I wonder if our local library has it? Luckily with this modern technology I can pop over to their site after I post this to inquire!

    Will be glad to go to Maine for lobsters with a big long-footed lady. :)


    Oooo, I just remembered there’s one slice of apple pie left, carb city, but here I go. We all deserve a little treat!!
    Jannie Funster recently posted..Jannie And The Wonderful- Excellent- All-Good- Fabulous YesterdayMy Profile

    patricia Reply:

    It won the Pulitzer Prize so I think your Library would have it, I bought it on Kindle because there was about a 5 month waiting list at our Library – and I wanted to read it sooner.

    How was the tea and apple pie? just hit the spot I bet!

  6. suzen Says:

    Hi Patricia! Isn’t it great the way you can “get out of town” in a book? I think I’ve traveled the world that way and it’s all good, I love it!

    Thanks for sharing this!

    patricia Reply:

    I just love to read and almost anything will transport me at the very least to some good thinking time. You are welcome

  7. Arts Web Show Says:

    According to shawshank redemption, there is some beautiful countryside in Maine. lol
    Sounds like a great book

    patricia Reply:

    It is a great read Arts Web Show! and I like as much how the book was organized as a novel of short stories….a cozy read and a new way of thinking about writing for me. Always like to learn something new – and peer into others lives

  8. Davina Haisell Says:

    Patricia, I like the idea of a reading vacation, too. Nowadays, this is like a luxury to just curl up with a blankie and a good book and read for the day. And this book sounds like a lovely trip away. I like the idea of a small cozy village. Just the other night, I relaxed while watching the movie Mystic Pizza, which is set in a small village — I get carried away by that type of atmosphere. If you haven’t seen that movie, I think you would enjoy it.
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    patricia Reply:

    Oh yes! Davina we know Mystic Pizza at this house, I think one of the girls owns it.

    I like the way this book is formatted as much as I liked reading all the stories. I am truly glad you came by because I think this would be an interesting way to connect your short stories and create a whole novel.

    That it won the Pulitzer Prize just icing on the cake as far as I am concerned. A great read

  9. Hilary Says:

    Hi Patricia .. good read by the sound of it – loved your telling of your journey to it .. and the ramifications going on around .. it is good to get away .. space and time out … not to say I get a lot – but I’m lucky I have the capacity by being on my own to create my own space when necessary. One day – the world will be my oyster again … pearls to visit! Hope all is going well .. cheers Hilary

    patricia Reply:

    Hilary – a great read
    All is going well – it looks like the 100 mph winds will be gone from the straits – still headed out to purchase some motion sickness meds for my partner.

    The pearls get bigger! I promise you

  10. Jannie Funster Says:

    I just finished it!

    Bored at the library Thursday, I recalled you highly recommended this one. When I realized it was by the writer who had written “Amy & Isabelle,” which I had read and thought outstanding a few years ago, I knew “Olive Kitteridge” would be good.

    But first I read her “Abide By Me.” So two Elizabeth Strout books this weekend for me!

    I found it hard to like Olive Kitteridge as a person, except for how she handled emergencies of life and death, like the anorexic girl, and Jack on the bench on her walk that morning. Tho she did soften up a bit near the end of the book.

    I laughed and laughed at the Parrot saying “God is King,” and “Praise the Lord” everytime someone cussed. That was SO funny!

    Elizabeth Strout is amazing!! Have you read “Abide By Me” yet? I think it’s my favorite of her 3 novels. Can’t wait to read her next one, whenever that comes out.

    Jannie Funster recently posted..A Band Of Roving Poets — in 55 wordsMy Profile

    patricia Reply:

    I read Abide With Me a great while ago….I can not remember it so I guess I must read it again!
    2 books this weekend – you sound like me – I read one yesterday but have a divorce party to attend in a few minutes…so have not started another one yet…I do have a very good non-fiction book to finish too about Introverts in the Church….a very extroverted place to be.

    Last weekend I read 2 full books and I am writing about them both this week on PW…

    Olive is not such a likeable person – but she did get around!

  11. Jannie Funster Says:

    A divorce party? Celebration, sounds like? :)

    Yes, a church likes an extrovert.

    I read Olive K. again, most parts of it before returning it here to the library. I liked her more the second time. I see she was just human like all of us, doing her best in her own way.

    Still a great read, wonderful details and observations in it.


    patricia Reply:

    It was quite a celebration – still more court time ahead and huge bills to pay.

    The world likes extroverts.

    I should read Olive K again…but the books stacks are high…I think I will leave it for a beach moment – it is quite a book and Olive is quite human!