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3.72  ·  Rating details ·  3,755 ratings  ·  478 reviews
The debut novel from the Sunday Times bestselling author, Emma Gannon.

Knows her own mind.

OLIVE is many things, and it’s ok that she’s still figuring it all out, navigating her world without a compass. But life comes with expectations, there are choices to be made, boxes to tick and – sometimes – stereotypes to fulfil. And when her best
Hardcover, 410 pages
Published June 25th 2020 by HarperCollins
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Average rating 3.72  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,755 ratings  ·  478 reviews

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I'm probably too old to read Olive.

Perhaps a bit too cynical too.

I'm 'child-free by choice' (CFBC as the books terms it) and I've never found it to be the cause of any drama whatsoever.

I've always believed that women my age (55) are part of the first generation to have the choice to not have kids and not get battered by society for that choice. Two decades earlier, women would be repeatedly asked when they would have babies and if they didn't, what was wrong with them. I skipped all of that. I
Jun 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Olive Stone now 33, has been friends with Bea, Isla and Cecily since school days. Olive is ambitious and doing very well in her journalistic career at .dot magazine. She has no maternal urges whatsoever which leads to a split from long term boyfriend Jacob who wants children. Although the book focuses on Olive, the choices of her friends are also portrayed as are the ups and downs in their personal lives and interactions with Olive. The story is narrated by Olive and goes backwards and forwards ...more
Jul 30, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: netgalley
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 19, 2020 rated it did not like it
Olive is a sociopathic functioning alcoholic who hates everyone from her closest friends to random women she’s just met because they have 6 children and shiny hair. Luckily all her friends also hate her, and each other. Every single character in this book has the exact same voice so you won’t be able to tell them apart, which is fine because none of them have any purpose.

Olive works on writing one (1) magazine story for the entire length of the book (and at least the entire length of another cha
Apr 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
I was afraid to give this 5 stars because I´m completely biased here: I´m the same age as Olive, and I also chose not to have children. It´s NOT EASY to find characters like her in contemporary lit.

Emma touches on subjects like friendship, women fertility, marriage, relationships, careers and society´s overall pressure on women throughout the book in a way that just made me feel all the feels.
I was just happy to pick up a book so light and easy to read (amidst a pandemic I must add) that made m
Aug 16, 2020 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 21, 2020 rated it it was ok
I reached this nonsensical sentence, and decided to cut my losses with this book: 'I was wearing a pair of velvet dungarees, hoping they wouldn't give me thrush.'. Right... ...more
May 14, 2020 rated it liked it
Whilst the style is far too commercial for my tastes, I appreciated the exploration of motherhood in its myriad forms. This book will definitely be discussed by millennial podcasters everywhere (not my scene), which can only be a good thing.

Reading on the beach

Avoid if:
You crave good writing
Jul 29, 2020 rated it did not like it
Will come back with my full thoughts later because I have a lot of them. But I'm thankful this reading experience is over.

Video review:
Pauliina (The Bookaholic Dreamer)
I received a free advance reader copy of Olive in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to the publisher, author and Netgalley! Receiving a e-copy has in no way influenced my opinions on the book.

Content warnings: Breakup, swearing, talk of sex, bullying, abortion, IVF process, sexism

This review is also published in my book blog (with pretty graphics yay!): https://bookaholicdreamer.wordpress.c...

1.5 stars

When I first saw the synopsis of Olive, my heart filled with joy. Despite of my ef
Amy Smith
May 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
I devoured this warm hug of a book over one weekend. It's a light read yet nuanced too - sensitively exploring a woman's decision to be child-free.

We meet Olive in her early 30s as she's lacking the maternal urges she presumed she'd have by this age, feeling that actually - maybe she doesn't want children. Through flitting between the past and present we get to know her and her group of friends, seeing their lives change through the decisions they make and how this impacts their relationships.

Jul 31, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
I've never asked for a refund from Apple Books until this one.

Similar to many folks here, I purchased this book following the media frenzy and flattering reviews that anticipated it. As a fellow millennial in my early thirties, I've loved exploring books on the choice of (not) having or children, and Sheila Heti, Meghan Daum and Leslie Jamison have already written beautifully, sensitively, thoughtfully on the matter.

However, with Olive I was genuinely surprised from the very first page by how ba
May 20, 2020 added it
Shelves: did-not-finish
What a load of pompous drivel. I DNF Olive. I'm clearly not the target audience for this book as I have two kiddos and although I only got 10% through this book, I ended up avoiding my kindle and dreading having to read more.

Olive is meant to be early 30s but the character is clearly stuck in her teenage years and complains about not seeing her friends as often but then actually actively disengages when they discuss anything she isn't interested in. Way to go, one-sided friendship! The relation
Jess Trevaskis
Jan 08, 2021 rated it liked it
Finding it hard to pin point why I read this so quickly given all my initial thoughts are criticisms. The dialogue was entirely unrelatable and awkward, it read quite jarring. I also felt nothing for any characters, even Olive herself. But I guess what kept me going was how deeply it explored different experiences surrounding having children - the pros and cons of being both a parent or childless. It was interesting to gain an understanding of motherhood and the desire some women have for it, wh ...more
Dec 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, 4-stars, fiction
Olive is a character we haven't really seen portrayed honestly and without cliches in books, but she is someone that is becoming increasingly familiar - a woman freely choosing not to have children. Gannon handles this with such aplomb, articulating the various complexities, worries, frustrations, and uncertainties so well. To be honest, as someone who doesn't want children, it was probably going to be easy for me to love Olive. I don't think I've identified with a character so strongly since my ...more
Raquel Moss
Jul 26, 2020 rated it it was ok
I didn't really enjoy this, but finished it for the sake of completeness.

The writing felt too casual, too much internet-speak thrown in. The use of "super" as a modifier was overdone and really grating. The protagonist often felt like a conduit for the author's random thoughts that would have been better as tweets. Overall, the writing was poor.

As for the protagonist...I found the amount of drinking too off-putting and hard to relate to. She was generally unlikable in many ways, and not interest
Sandrine Vaillancourt
Jul 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Olive is about motherhood in all its forms: mothers and pregnant women but also women who can’t have children and women who decide to be child-free. Emma Gannon’s debut novel is witty, compassionate and so timely. It’s such an enjoyable read, I devoured it within a day! While the main character wasn’t super likeable at first, I was rooting for her at the end, hoping she’d get the happy ending she wanted - without compromising.
Sep 05, 2020 rated it did not like it
I have nothing nice to say about this book lol
Sep 17, 2020 rated it liked it
3.5 ⭐️
Cringey at times but overall heartwarming read on female friendships through adulthood and the challenges of motherhood/not desiring motherhood
Amy W
Jul 21, 2020 rated it liked it
Thanks to Netgalley for providing me with this ARC in return for an honest review.

I was interested in reading Olive because I was aware of Emma Gannon’s writing and podcasting, and had seen a lot of coverage of this novel everywhere on my social media in the last couple of months. The topic, of the experience of women who are child free by choice, is an interesting one to me and as a mother, I was keen to understand why other women make different choices to mine.

For me, this book was a quick an
Madelon North
Oct 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
I absolutely loved the topics covered in this book. I related a lot to Olive. There is definitely societal expectations to get married, buy a house, have a baby as if those are the only things that should matter in life. I also loved how Gannon didn’t write the female friendships as if they were perfect, the four main characters were all flawed in their own ways and I love reading novels where not everything is perfect it makes it so much more realistic.
I did find the end a bit cliche so that’s
Nov 30, 2020 rated it did not like it
The extremely difficult plight of 4 rich white women
Emma Salter
Nov 09, 2020 rated it did not like it
Do my real life child free friends view me the way Olive does?! I can only hope not.

Olive is a self centred narcissist who treats her friends awfully.

The spare characters in the book are over exaggerated, and the book is full of encounters that simply wouldn't happen, as well as editorial errors such as spelling mistakes and plot inconsistencies.

I'm obviously not the target audience for this book, but it's probably the worst book I've read all year.
Anika  | Chapters of May
Jun 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Olive Stone is a thirty-something career woman living in London. She’s ambitious, headstrong, and witty. Her best friends, Bea, Isla and Cecily have been her closest companions since her school days. When they graduate university, they promise to keep their tight-knit bond at the forefront of their lives. But when met with life’s ups and downs, that pact is much easier said than done.

As Olive’s friends move through life, with their careers, their marriages, and their families, Olive starts to q
Inês Gueifão
Oct 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Actual rating: 4.5 stars

'Olive', by Emma Gannon, was exactly the type of book I needed right now - I was captured by the intriguing synopsis that promised a light book with an important topic in the background.

Olive is a 33 year old woman who has had the same 3 best friends since school years. With the passing of time, their lives inevitably change and Olive starts to feel different than the other by one reason: motherhood. Unlike her friends, Olive does NOT want to be a mother.
In this way, we
Jan 03, 2021 rated it really liked it
I do not know how i missed this book last year.

Olive doesn't want children. We follow her navigating this choice, alongside her childhood friends as they grow up.

Firstly, i may be naive but I've never known anyone to not want any kids at all. Ofcourse it's a thing and a choice, but still feels surprising! And of course it shouldn't be surprising because why not? You don't have to have them!

In my culture is not really a choice, its just expected after marriage! I got married and then my baby wa
Mia Rogers
Dec 31, 2020 rated it liked it
Found the first third of the book really difficult to make myself read - just felt the writing was very poor, especially the dialogue. I did persist and the storyline thankfully helped me through! Not bad overall but not great ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Fabulous Book Fiend
Jul 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I was sucked into this book right from the very first page because I loved getting to met Olive and I really identified with her as a character. There were some moments in this book I identified with because I am almost the same age as Olive so I am in the same life stages as her and there were some parts I identified with because they were just so wonderfully British. It really made me miss London and the tube but I still 100% recommend this book.

Olive is not perfect, parts of her personality
Chloë Maughan
Aug 13, 2020 rated it did not like it
I saw a lot of hype for this book online but gave up on it after the first 3 chapters. The writing was quite poor. It felt like I was reading early drafts from an inexperienced writer. The narrative was very reliant on “telling” rather than “showing” which I felt resulted in it the writing feeling quite shallow.
Katy Noyes
Aug 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
30-something womanhood represented and examined, hits a nerve.

At least, it hit a nerve with me. Though I'm a mum, Olive really did strike a chord. Olive herself - a successful career in the writing she loves, with lifelong close friends, the story picks up just after Olive's relationship of nine years breaks down - Jacob wants children, Olive has always been adamant that they are not for her.

Olive proceeds to examine her own motivations, history and reasons for this, all the while attempting to
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