July 2009 nestie book club discussion

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OK Discussion Questions

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message 1: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Rowe | 21 comments I'm just going to do some of the more general questions that won't really require going back through all the stories to answer.

1. Do you like Olive Kitteridge as a person? (simple enough)

2. How would you say OK changed as a person during the course of the book?

3. Why do you think Henry tolerates OK as much as he does?

4. How do you think OK perceives boundaries and possessiveness, especially in regard to relationships?

5. Was Christopher justified in his fight with OK in "Security"? Did he kick her out, or did she voluntarily leave? Do you think he and Ann are cruel to Olive?

6. What elements of OK's personality are revealed in her relationship with Jack Kennison in "River"? How does their interaction reflect changes in her perspective on her son? On the way she treated Henry? On the way she sees the world?

Answer which ever ones you want, answer them all, whatever you feel like!


message 2: by Kate (new)

Kate (mrskatemarie) | 14 comments 1. I didn't like her. I tried. It never panned out. I hated that she was perpetually miserable. She could never appreciate the small things (like Henry bringing her a doughnut, even if it wasn't her favorite kind). She was so drastically different from me that I couldn't identify with her at all.

6. I think this section was the only section that revealed she was capable of love. Every other time she expressed "love" it seemed like it had another motivation. (Obligation, when she was going to visit Henry daily. Sense of entitlement when she was dealing with Christopher.) I felt like, for the most part, she had a view of the world in her head of the way things should be and expected that to be handed to her - when it wasn't, she lashed out at the people around her.

3. I think Henry truely loved her and I think he really tried to live as an honorable man. He was my favorite of all the characters.

5. I think Christopher was completely justified. In my opinion, he didn't kick her out - just made her stick to her word. I imagine that was the first time anyone really stood up to her like that. It's not cruel. If the roles were reversed we'd be calling it tough love.


message 3: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Rowe | 21 comments 1. I can't say that she would have been my favorite person IRL, but I didn't hate her. To me, it really seemed like she struggles with her interactions with other people and how she shows her love to others. She IS capable of love (i.e. how she treated the anorexic girl and Jack at the end), but with those that she's known for years, it's more difficult for her to show this. I kinda think that something happened in her childhood that we weren't given information on to make her act/think/feel this way, like maybe her house was a strict, non-hugging type place. Who knows.

3. I truly believe that Henry loves Olive. He seems to me a very loyal, stand-up kind of guy that puts his family in front of his own happiness no matter what, which is to be commended. Along with that, I think that he's at an age where this life is all he's known for a many many years, and he can't imagine his life any other way (kind of like being let out of prison!).

4. I think OK is the type of person that thinks the only way you can show love is by taking care of everything for that person. To others, it is probably seemed as controlling, overbearing, etc. But I would bet that to her, she's just doing her very best to make sure they aren't in want for anything, even if she does complain. All. The. Time. :)

5. I think Christopher was probably the first person ever to call OK on her bluff. Other in her life just think 'That's just how she is, I'll deal with her.' I was with Olive in thinking that Christopher's relationship with Ann was a little weird, but that was probably his way of rebelling against his mother and his first wife, both who were women who were controlling him.

6. I think for once in her life, OK didn't feel 'needed'. She didn't feel like she had to hover over Jack, he was quick to come back to her with responses and didn't just roll over and die when she started on her tirades. Once OK was able to grasp this, she was able to let go and actually RELAX around him. I would venture to say her blood pressure dropped significantly and she was able to love someone for who they were, not for what she could do for them, for once in her life.


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