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Olive Kitteridge

Olive Kitteridge

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Oh - I loved this book. I have read several really good books lately, and this is probably the best. I read it after I saw it on the bestseller list and noticed it won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. I'm usually not attracted to short stories. I've always wanted more - more meat, more character development, just more length - but this collection is different. Olive Kitteridge, the namesake of the collection, is the character who ties each of the stories together. Sometimes she's the focus of the story, and sometimes she just walks through a restaurant where the story is taking place. It's such an interesting play on a character and on small town Maine.

Olive is a surly character, mostly unlikeable, but so ordinary I felt like I knew her. She might be me or my mother or my Aunt Gertie. I felt so connected to this crabby, judgmental, lonely, large woman. There are moments of humanity in these stories like I have not felt in fiction in as long as I can remember. And the language - here are a few examples of the sentences that made me breathe deep with pleasure. "Whenever she saw him, it was like moving into a warm pocket of air" or "When you looked into his eyes, it was like seeing him through a screened-in porch" or "after a certain point in a marriage, you stopped having a certain kind of fight." See what I mean?

I'm not sure I've ever felt more confident in recommending a work of fiction to you. Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout. Enjoy.

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