Review: ‘Olive Kitteridge’ by Elizabeth Strout

One of my favourite reads on my MA course last term was My Name is Lucy Barton, so I was excited to pick up another book by the same author. Olive Kitteridge creates a vivid portrait of a woman, her family and her community. Thirteen chapters, each with their own focus, each show us a different impression and side of the eponymous character. In her Maine hometown, Olive fulfills many roles to different people – wife and mother, maths teacher, charity fundraiser.

olive-kitteridge

The character is the subject of this book and is what I loved most about the book. The approach Strout takes to creating our impression of her is brilliantly done. Having so many viewpoints on one woman means that our knowledge of her is well rounded. She is not implicitly a likeable woman – unpredictable and abrasive. The different parts show her in incredibly different lights and left my with a unique sympathy for the character.

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