I find it hard to believe that I didn't write a review for this when I finished it last November. Easily one of the best books I've read in the last tI find it hard to believe that I didn't write a review for this when I finished it last November. Easily one of the best books I've read in the last three years, if not more. Just a gorgeously written, engaging, emotional powerhouse of a book. I still think about it regularly, almost a year after I finished it.
I really can't pinpoint the specifics, but this book played my heartstrings like a virtuoso plays the violin. Loved it. Loved every bit of it: loved OI really can't pinpoint the specifics, but this book played my heartstrings like a virtuoso plays the violin. Loved it. Loved every bit of it: loved Olive the most, we've nothing alike really. I am bad with numbers, I am a young man. We both live in Maine, but I can't see much other than our Mainerisms.
Granted, she feels like she could be one of my great aunts: the crusty one, bantering with her sisters and my grandmother over coffee and pancakes at a family party. Making the grandchildren cry across the boards. Making the adults feel foolish and shamed.
But despite this, whenever I read Strout's descriptions of Olive's inner-self, I just basically exploded with love. She almost made my heart ache.
I'm being a bad english major and I'm skipping over the analytical dissection of the text, but whatever. Rarely does a book illicit such a purely emotional response as this one does for me.
And as an english major, I am satisfied to report that Strout is a fabulous writer. Structurally and stylistically, this book was exquisite. Cleverly done, in my humble opinion, as well as rather ambitious. Highlight a character through 13 loosely-connected short stories? Love it.
I know not everyone loves Olive (book and character) like I do. That's fine, you don't need to rebut my reading of the novel. To each their own, and I respect the reasons people have stated for not liking this. I see where you're coming from.
And as a born-and-raised Mainer (others might disagree), I really commend Strout for creating someone who feels genuinely like a Mainer. She's 'from away', so I have to give her credit for creating someone who possesses the qualities that tried-and-true Mainers covet and understand - I'm sure the same goes for every state... I would hope every state has a sort of character only visible to the terribly observant and the people who lived it their wholes lives.
Rambling rambling. I really loved this book. Coulda written a bunch more! I'll skip it.