Nicola Montague's Reviews > White Oleander

White Oleander by Janet Fitch
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Feb 15, 11

bookshelves: general-fiction, favorites, also-a-movie
I own a copy, read count: six

One of my all time favourite books, haunting and lyrical.
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Quotes Nicola Liked

Janet Fitch
“I hated labels anyway. People didn't fit in slots--prostitute, housewife, saint--like sorting the mail. We were so mutable, fluid with fear and desire, ideals and angles, changeable as water.”
Janet Fitch, White Oleander

Janet Fitch
“Whenever she turned her steep focus to me, I felt the warmth that flowers must feel when they bloom through the snow, under the first concentrated rays of the sun.”
Janet Fitch, White Oleander

Janet Fitch
“I thought clay must feel happy in the good potter's hand.”
Janet Fitch, White Oleander

Janet Fitch
“Oleander time, she said. Lovers who kill each other now will blame it on the wind. ”
Janet Fitch, White Oleander

Janet Fitch
“They wanted the real mother, the blood mother, the great womb, mother of fierce compassion, a woman large enough to hold all the pain, to carry it away. What we needed was someone who bled...mother's big enough, wide enough for us to hide in...mother's who would breathe for us when we could not breathe anymore, who would fight for us, who would kill for us, die for us.”
Janet Fitch, White Oleander

Janet Fitch
“It's all I ever really wanted, that revelation. The possibility of fixed stars.”
Janet Fitch, White Oleander

Janet Fitch
“Just because a poet said something didn’t mean it was true, only that it sounded good.”
Janet Fitch, White Oleander

Janet Fitch
“I nodded. A man's world. But what did it mean? That men whistled and stared and yelled things at you, and you had to take it, or you get raped or beat up? A man's world meant places men could go but not women. It meant they had more money,and didn't have kids, not the way women did, to look after every second. And it meant that women loved them more than they loved the women, that they could want something with all their hearts, and then not.”
Janet Fitch, White Oleander

Janet Fitch
“The Santa Anas blew in hot from the desert, shriveling the last of the spring grass into whiskers of pale straw. Only the oleanders thrived, their delicate poisonous blooms, their dagger green leaves. We could not sleep in the hot dry nights, my mother and I.”
Janet Fitch, White Oleander

Janet Fitch
“Her voice was trained, supple as leather, precise as a knife thrower's blade. Singing or talking, it had the same graceful quality, and an accent I thought at first was English, but then realized was the old-fashioned American of a thirties movie, a person who could get away with saying 'grand.' Too classic, they told her when she went out on auditions. It didn't mean old. It meant too beautiful for the times, when anything that lasted longer than six months was considered passe. I loved to listen to her sing, or tell me stories about her childhood in suburban Connecticut, it sounded like heaven.”
Janet Fitch, White Oleander

Janet Fitch
“...You know the mistrust of heights is the mistrust of self, you don't know whether you're going to jump.”
Janet Fitch, White Oleander

Janet Fitch
“If sinners where so unhappy, why would they prefer their suffering?
But now I knew why. Without my wounds, who was I?”
Janet Fitch, White Oleander

Janet Fitch
“What can she possibly teach you, twenty seven names for tears?”
Janet Fitch, White Oleander

Janet Fitch
“I wandered through the stacks, running my hands along the spines of the books on the shelves, they reminded me of cultured or opinionated guests at a wonderful party, whispering to each other.”
Janet Fitch, White Oleander

Janet Fitch
“One can bear anything. The pain we cannot bear will kill us outright.”
Janet Fitch, White Oleander


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