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Olive, Again (Olive Kitteridge, #2)
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September 2020: Psychological > {Poll Ballot} Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout- 4 stars

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Jen K | 1395 comments Olive Kitteridge is back and just as wonderful. She reminds me of so many strong New England ladies in my life. This collection of stories takes Olive through a second marriage, trying the grandmother thing with her somewhat estranged son's family and challenges of growing even older with the body's failures, friends passing and assisted living. I love how Strout mixes stories of others including personalities from her other books to complement Olive's impression of herself as she does try to be mindful of her relationships and the criticism from others, especially her son. Olive reflects on and recognizes some of her failings and her loneliness which is pointed out by another but she also still has the uncanny knack for seeing it in others and being there for them when possible. It is great to understand the troubles of growing older through Olive's eyes and that she is still striving to be better as she tries to fit in to her changing community.

Stout writes with heart and always makes me nostalgic for my northern roots. Her characters are flawed but multi-faceted. Olive may expect too much at times but she also has her moments of giving. I enjoyed this second installment of stories.


NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 5563 comments Great review. We liked many of the same things. Olive's self-reflection and discoveries were quite poignant. It was surprising to see her vulnerability peek through. She shows us that no one is just one thing. She can be abrupt and thoughtless, and also incredibly giving. (Which is perhaps true of all of us.) You talked about her uncanny knack for seeing it in others... I still remember how she observed a character in the last book, and barged right in to talk to him. She had figured out that he was planning to kill himself. I do think that experiencing depression, loneliness, and other deep feelings enables people to spot the signs and be more empathetic with others. (When they aren't too deep in their own hole to notice others.) I think I got a few insights about aging too, but I'll want to read both of the books again some time.

It like how Strout constructs these books (even though they can confuse people). She shows us different perspectives of people and the town. It gives us a more realistic (but far from complete) sense of the whole. I ought to give her other books another try. I didn't like one, but I might like the others.


Jen K | 1395 comments NancyJ wrote: "Great review. We liked many of the same things. Olive's self-reflection and discoveries were quite poignant. It was surprising to see her vulnerability peek through. She shows us that no one is jus..."

Agreed, I really like Olive and love how Strout shows her many facets through the short stories. I also read her The Burgess Boys and My Name Is Lucy Barton. They were good but not even close to Olive.


message 4: by NancyJ (last edited Sep 09, 2020 08:10AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 5563 comments Jen K wrote: "NancyJ wrote: "Great review. We liked many of the same things. Olive's self-reflection and discoveries were quite poignant. It was surprising to see her vulnerability peek through. She shows us tha..."

I had a hard time related to Lucy Barton. I suppose I have more in common with Olive than Lucy, and I've known more women like Olive than like Lucy.


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