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Saturday, June 6, 2020

Book Review: Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout

Olive Kitteridge was one of my favorite books I've ever read. And I normally hate short story collections! Although to me, that book, and this one as well, don't read like short story collections but instead like novels, albeit novels whose timeline and POV character might shift multiple times throughout.

Once again, Olive is rampaging around her small town in Maine, telling others what they ought to do, judging people, and yet in her way being incredibly helpful and kind. Sometimes she's the only person who notices someone, the only person to check on someone, or the only one who will listen. Sure, she's loud and opinionated and sometimes quite clumsy in her approach, but that doesn't detract from her innate positivity (I always picture her as Dorothy Zbornack from The Golden Girls.) She meets a man, they date awkwardly, find love, and along the way she both meets new friends and loses people, as she's getting older (and everyone is getting older.) The book seems to cover a good chunk of time, like 10-15 years although I didn't do the math to  know for sure. But it's a little bit of an elegy on aging, but if you hate "elegies" and anything like that which smacks of the sentimental, Olive is right up your alley. It has poignant moments and int he end covers the gamut of emotions, but overall it was a real feel-good read for me.

I got this ARC for free from a friend who works for the publisher, in exchange for an ARC I gave him from my company. No guarantees of reviews were made.


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