Olive Continues to Move us, Astound us and Amuse us in Olive, Again
We first met Olive Kitteridge in 2008. The book named for this cantankerous, but vulnerable retired school teacher won the Pulitzer Prize. And now Olive is back again, and as prickly as ever. Olive struggles to understand not only herself, but the lives of those around her in her own frank and abrupt way in 13 interconnected vignettes. Olive lost her husband several years ago and she is now being wooed by retired Harvard professor, Jack Kennison, 74. Jack reflected that kissing Olive, 73, was like kissing a barnacle-covered whale. He doesn’t know why he loves Olive, but he just does.
The book starts with a humorous story of Jack traveling to another nearby town to buy a bottle of whiskey to avoid seeing Olive and the “other widow” in the grocery story. In other stories, Olive attends a “stupid” baby shower and then delivers a baby in the backseat of her car, she wakes up in a hospital and falls in love with her doctor, she shares personal stories with a woman undergoing cancer treatment, and she makes a good friend in an assisted living facility.
Olive’s pokes around in the lives of people in Crosby, Maine and her responses to life’s significant moments continue to move us, astound us and amuse us. OLIVE, AGAIN is a compassionate and poignant sequel where Olive faces the challenges of aging and shares her unique perspective on life, as only the elderly can do.
Elizabeth Strout’s writing is charming and masterful. She effortlessly blends these 13 stories to form a humorous and compassionate picture of an aging women who experiences love, loss and loneliness. If you read Olive Kitteridge, you have to read this book. You will see Olive’s robust character evolve and her quirky thoughts and phrases make her come alive on the pages of OLIVE, AGAIN.
Thanks to Netgalley for an advance reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Publisher Random House
Published October 15, 2019