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Olive Kitteridge - Elizabeth Strout
Olive Kitteridge is the story of a woman who is in the last moments of her life. She is not dying but she is old. Her only child is grown and has moved away from the small town in which she raised him. Intertwined with Olive's story is the story of other residents of her small Maine town. Some of them have a direct connection with Olive's, while with others the connection is not as strong. There are stories about about friends, students, and people that she connects with going about her everyday life.

Overall, Olive Kitteridge is a character study more than action driven.

Stout shows her talent as a writer by being able to tale 13 different characters story and history without making it one large information dump. There were times when I wondered what connection certain characters had with Olive and then there would be a mention of her. Stout showed how one person can affect the course of so many lives by actions and words.

The main character, Olive Kitteridge is not a happy person. She had a hard difficult childhood and it reflected in how she treated the people around her. Which in turn reflected how they thought and interacted with her. There were times when I thought that she had to be the most rudest, nastiness, most bitter person around. Her dog was the only "person" that she displayed a constant display for consideration for, with everyone else she was a constant "hot and cold". Her attitude tainted the most important relationships in her life, that between her and her son, and her and her husband, Henry.

Now, while Olive was mean. She was honest, which I found refreshing even while finding it shocking. In the end, I liked Olive. I realized that at the time she thought she was doing her best and she really did not know any other way to behave. That her rudeness was a shield to hide her true feelings from the world. That ultimately she was scared of being hurt and in the end I think that she finally realized that two.

I liked Stout writing style, it was very fluid and engaging. She was able to masterfully distinguish all her characters and make them all complex. There voices were unique and never did I get confused about which characters story is was reading.

The overall tone was solemn, but Stout was able interject humor in just the right places to lighten the mood up when need. The humor didn't seem forced but flowed naturally with the story.

Overall Recommendation:

I found Olive Kitteridge to be a very pleasant story about a woman reflecting on her life mixed in with other stories about people dealing with various situations. It was a smooth read, and while I won't say that it was a favorite novel or that I would give it rave reviews. I would not hesitate to recommend this to anyone or read another one of Elizabeth Stout's novels again. I think this is the prefect book for anyone that enjoyed The Remains of The Day.

This is shorten review the longer version can be found here