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Hating Olivia: A Love Story
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Hating Olivia: A Love Story

3.51  ·  Rating Details  ·  201 Ratings  ·  35 Reviews
“A book of quiet horrors and beautifully expressed longing. . . . SaFranko’s prose is precise, flawless, and the work of a man who truly loves and understands great writing.” —Tony O'Neill, author of Sick City and Down and Out on Murder Mile

“SaFranko writes from the heart, and the balls, crafting a furious and passionate piece of work that is entirely his own, with some s
Paperback, 304 pages
Published November 16th 2010 by Harper Perennial (first published September 2nd 2004)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 427)
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Brooke Bove
Nov 30, 2010 Brooke Bove rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, first-reads
I could have easily hated this book. It sets itself up for ridicule so easily. The setting is cliché. Reading the synopsis of the book elicits a groan and an eye roll. I think that the publisher could work on their marketing and jacket description some. But in the end, the look at a passionate, failed relationship is simple, good, and the characters are not completely flat.

Max, as the paragraph on the back of the book tells us, is in a rut. He lives in a cockroach infested boarding house and wo
Caleb Ross
Aug 30, 2014 Caleb Ross rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, type-paperback
(this review originally appeared at Outsider Writers Collective)

The first page of Mark SaFranko’s Hating Olivia mentions the narrator’s possible suicidal tendencies, which immediately associates this novel with so much self-indulgent, faux gutter dreck that has come before. So, considering that Hating Olivia not only dodges those preconceptions, but instills its susceptible characters with a well-crafted sense of empathy makes overcoming that initial hump all the more impressive.

Hating Olivia pr
Jun 29, 2011 Hosho rated it it was amazing
Poetic and touching in such unexpected ways, SaFranko's HATING OLIVIA breezes through the fires and fractures of that great white unknown: a new love. Having long been partial to the misanthropic-artist-vs.-the-world blueprint, before even cracking the cover this book was already working for me. What surprised me was the effortless and entertaining prose--the story winding and writhing around the hard-scrabble daydreams and horrors. I'd blow through pages at a furious clip, always reluctant to c ...more
Apr 06, 2011 Jayme rated it it was ok
At the end, I hated Olivia too. And her whiny boyfriend protagonist.
Jim Ament
Apr 30, 2011 Jim Ament rated it really liked it
Shelves: existential
Every book I read these days is an opportunity for me to evaluate writing styles. And when I think back on all the crime thrillers, suspense novels, and noir fiction that I’ve enjoyed over the years, it’s the punchy dialog, the brevity of words, and “the short declarative sentences,” as in reference to Hemingway, that I liked. This was often coupled with poetic prose that gave these books a contrasting feel—where one can get a sense of the author’s soul.

I’ve only recently been introduced to auth
Paca (Caroline?)
Aug 26, 2014 Paca (Caroline?) rated it did not like it
I read this because a friend (whose opinion I normally trust) told me it was great.

It was, honestly, one of the worst books I've ever read. The only redeeming factor is that it was short.

After the first fifty pages, I considered stopping. I did a cursory Google search, and I found that many people really loved the book and it was a borderline cult classic, so I kept reading. At times, I sincerely hoped that the book was a parody of an unintelligent, self-important jackoff. After reading the auth
Melissa Lee-tammeus
Disturbing tale of a love gone bad - very bad. It becomes blantanly clear early on that this story of two people - Livy and Max - are codependent on one another and it's not going to turn out well. But it also reminds us that some of those relationships we have had in our own past had red flags all over them too, but we paid no heed. Falling down the rabbit hole and realizing you need to get out, but having no will, means, or confidence to do so rings true with many and that is what this book is ...more
Aug 18, 2011 Meagan rated it liked it
A decent book about a horrible relationship. If you're hoping this book will shed some light on why people do the f-ed up things that they do, it won't; It will only give you a clearer picture of just how f-ed up it is that they stay together. The language is pretty graphic and straightforward, especially concerning sex, the tense shifts are a little weird but understandable, but the book flows. It's a fairly quick and interesting read and though it ends on a high note it was a bit depressing to ...more
Adrienne Conley
Jun 21, 2011 Adrienne Conley rated it liked it
This book is hard to describe...I really liked it but it was so depressing and the characters are so tragic. The couple in the book just go through so much and through the whole book you keep wondering why are they even still together and torturing themselves. Makes you think twice about love and bad romances. The real question of the book is how do you know when to walk away? And when enough and enough?
Joseph Ridgwell
Jan 09, 2011 Joseph Ridgwell rated it it was amazing
One of the best books to come out of the new wave of american fiction, top drawer...
Jack Goodstein
Nov 14, 2010 Jack Goodstein rated it liked it
Shelves: novels
SaFranko's read too much Henry Miller.
Jan 20, 2013 Lola rated it did not like it
Maybe it was self-fulfilling prophecy, but I found myself completely hating Olivia through the course of this novel. Her life is a one-dimensional paragraph in a Psych 101 discourse, a woman seeking out shelter in the form of her sexuality to escape demons in her past. Not that my sentiments towards any of the other characters were much warmer - shallow, unsubstantial and cliche, even the narrator himself seemed so disinterested with his own life so as to inspire little to no sympathy. He claims ...more
The Sunday Book Review
Rating: 2 out of 3 stars

Hating Olivia is not a conventional novel. It's not all wine and roses. It speaks about a period in all of our lives where we think no-one and nothing can touch us. Especially when it comes to relationships. You know, that one relationship where everyone is telling you to stay away, run, high-tail it out of there. Yet we think we know what is best for us and ignore all advice thrown our way.

Max falls in love with a girl (Olivia) who could not be more wrong for him and his
Dec 22, 2010 Sarah rated it liked it
Hooray, I won this book from Goodreads' First Reads Giveaway.

The title's kind of a dead giveaway as to how this novel's going to end, but I enjoyed the process of getting from the beginning to the end and seeing exactly how it would all work out. I'm sure almost everyone who reads this ends up saying something like, "For God's sake, get up off your lazy ass and get a job already." I know I did, several times throughout the book. However, that feeling of not being able to go out and face the worl
Feb 07, 2011 Ti rated it liked it
Shelves: books-sent-to-me
The Short of It:

Hating Olivia is about obsession and lust and how easily we can lose ourselves when we are confronted with it.

The Rest of It:

Max is the type of guy who cruises through life. He’s educated, but unfocused. He would rather write, than make ends meet but the writing doesn’t happen too often. Although a bit unstable when it comes to finances, overall he’s a pretty happy guy.

Enter Olivia Aphrodite. Olivia is drop-dead gorgeous. She too, is not too stable in the finance department and h
Dec 20, 2010 AmandaSOTP rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2010
My Review:

This was quite an interesting read. It reveals just how far one can lose themselves in a relationship with another person. In this case, it's not the healthiest relationship, and in the end is quite detrimental to our main character, but while it is a bit anti-climatic in the end, the story is well written and Max manages to extricate himself with something left of himself.

There are many other things I could say about this book, but we've all been in a relationship that maybe wasn't th
Dec 22, 2014 reqbat rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-in-2014
completely one-dimensional characters, and even that is too generous. nothing happens in this book- the fights are uninteresting, the fucking is uninteresting, the characters are uninteresting. AVOID.
Jan 05, 2011 Maria rated it it was ok
What I Can Tell You: While I am sure that there are many people who will love this book. This wasn't my cup of tea at all. Mark SaFranko is a very smart writer maybe a little too smart for me. Which is why I have always called myself the Amateur Book Reviewer. I believe the writing to be good! However, this was a little too much like reality. The love story is completely toxic as a lot of relationships turn out to be. It is slow and I have no respect for our two main characters, Max or Olivia. I ...more
Feb 05, 2016 Kris rated it it was ok
I see the comparison to Bukowski, but for me this didn't have any of the poignance that Bukowski sometimes hits.
Jan 26, 2011 ABookGeek rated it liked it
This book initially sounded intriguing, but somehow it was different than I expected. I'm torn on this one. There are things that I liked about the book, but the characters were not really very likeable. Olivia is just trouble from the get-go. I also would not call Max and Olivia' relationship "love" in any real sense - obessession, most definitely - but not love. The story is told from Max's point of view, so we only get his interpretation of Olivia's motives for her behavior.
Continue reading f
Sara Habein
Jun 28, 2011 Sara Habein rated it did not like it
Shelves: pass
Rarely do I abandon books early on. Usually I give a book at least 1/3rd of the way to win me over, and I finish most books that I start. This book, 40 pages in, I started to question whether it was worth my time. I don't want to be snobby, but the writing is just ... not good. As-in, using "gift horse in the mouth" as a serious phrase sort of not good, which I would look past to a certain extent if I cared about any of the characters. I did not care. I care about the stack of books I've been me ...more
Jun 03, 2012 Amy rated it liked it
Despite how vile both Max and Livy get in this book, you still feel some sense of sadness for them as they continue their co-dependent, downward spiral. Although it's a more extreme example of a volatile ad unhealthy relationship, anyone who's ever gone through a bad break up can relate to the novel in some way. I recommend skipping the epilogue though. It was a bit trite and could have been left out completely.
Oct 13, 2011 Denise rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
This is not a book for everybody! SaFranko's writing reminds me of that of Douglas Kennedy--sort of 'confessional.' Like Kennedy, SaFranko's novels were first released in Europe and have been very successful there.

HATING OLIVIA is the story of a love-hate relationship. I loved it but like I said, it is not for everyone!
John Zeck
Nov 29, 2010 John Zeck rated it really liked it
I picked up Hating Olivia in need of something in the worthy tradition of Charles Bukowski and wasn't disappointed. As long as we understand what we're getting into here, the tragic collision of maladjusted lovers against the backdrop of the New Jersey sixties, then enjoy, because SaFranko is a helluva writer.
Dec 25, 2014 BRNTerri rated it it was ok
I was very disappointed in this novel. I found it to be absolutely boring. Early on I found myself not caring at all for either Max or Olivia. I had to force myself to finish it. Sadly, I won't try this author again.

* I won this book in a giveaway in exchange for an honest review.
Oct 16, 2012 Stephanie rated it did not like it
As I read, I spent most of the time not necessarily hating Olivia, but rather hating this book. Wholly disappointing (though, my expectations steadily declined as I progressed through the book's pages).
Christian Scacchetti
Nov 04, 2011 Christian Scacchetti rated it really liked it
This is the type of love story I've been longing to read. The detail is incredible and Max's point of view is interesting and sometimes unintentionally humorous.
Mar 31, 2013 Brittany rated it it was amazing
This is definitely not a feel-good book, but it is beautifully written and gives a realistic glimpse into the evolution of a co-dependent, destructive relationship.
Kim Forsythe
Feb 20, 2011 Kim Forsythe rated it did not like it
Shelves: novel, american, review
I know that I got this book for review and that I'm supposed to say something, but this book doesn't deserve it.
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