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Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout

Published January 4, 2020

Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout

Book info

  • Title Olive, Again
  • Author Elizabeth Strout
  • Year 2019
  • Genre Contemporary

Olive, Again follows the blunt, contradictory yet deeply loveable Olive Kitteridge as she grows older, navigating the second half of her life as she comes to terms with the changes - sometimes welcome, sometimes not - in her own existence and in those around her. Olive adjusts to her new life with her second husband, challenges her estranged son and his family to accept him, experiences loss and loneliness, witnesses the triumphs and heartbreaks of her friends and neighbours in the small coastal town of Crosby, Maine - and, finally, opens herself to new lessons about life.

Thoughts

This was another pick in Oprah’s book club but it took me a while to get to it because I had to read the original Olive Kitteridge book first. I loved that one 100%, and this one lived up to the promise although I’m not sure I loved it quite as much as I did the first.

It follows the same lines - a glimpse into the lives of a variety of people in a small coastal town in the US, including the title character Olive, who is getting older and dealing with many changes in her life.

Whilst the evocative detail was still clearly evident, I did fill a little bit more at arm’s length from some of these stories - and I’m wondering if that’s because the characters feature in other full-length works by Strout, so these are more like nods to them rather than their tales. But maybe I just need to read those as well!

I still loved it though, the way it brings to life these people, digs right into the heart of what makes them tick whilst never being boring. It’s about humanity, about how we love each other but also simply tolerate each other, and about how life goes on even in its hardest moments. These are definitely special books.

Rating: 4 / 5

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