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Most Helpful Favorable Review
8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.
This book was so good!
posted by MaggieMcKickButt on October 21, 2009Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Most Helpful Critical Review
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.
Very good :)
posted by Anonymous on February 19, 2012Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 8, 2013
This is one of my top five favorite books of all time. Read once
This is one of my top five favorite books of all time. Read once a year, at least, since it was published. As others have mentioned, separate the movie from the novel. The beauty of this book is in the words, their poetic presentation, which can't be adapted on film.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 2, 2013
Posted July 8, 2013
After reading the sample, I became attached to this book and its storyline.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
It was as if I was with Astrid throughout the story. I understood her. I sympathesized with her.
I would highly recommend this book. It is a very easy read and highly enjoyable.
Posted June 27, 2013
Posted March 11, 2013
This book has stuck with me since I first read it 6 years ago. I
This book has stuck with me since I first read it 6 years ago. I have never been drawn by the first sentences of a book in the same way that this one did. The fluid and artistic way Fitch writes completely swallows you. A beautiful book.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 5, 2013
Posted January 18, 2013
Posted January 17, 2013
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Posted December 30, 2012
Posted December 19, 2011
Posted October 17, 2011
Janet Fitch's debut novel, White Oleander, is an engrossing dramatic novel about a fourteen-year-old girl named Astrid from Los Angeles, California and Astrid adores her mother, Ingrid. Ingrid is not like most typical mothers that are seen everyday and is instead selfish, brilliant, and a little unstable. Ingrid also sometimes forgets that she has a daughter, leaving Astrid to witness things that not many girls her age would see. One day Astrid's world is turn upside down because her mother used the poison of the oleander flower to kill a man named Barry since he is a womanizer and used Ingrid. Because of this murder, Astrid is sent of to different foster homes from trailer houses to a bungalow in Hollywood. Through her journey, Astrid learns how to stand up for herself and develops her understanding while turning into a woman.
White Oleander is a bestseller and it is an Oprah's Book Club novel. Fitch was sparked into writing fiction novels because she was born into a family of devoted readers. Fitch attended Reed College, and later won a student exchange to Keele University in England. Using vivid and descriptive images, Janet Fitch attracts the reader and makes the reader feel like you are experiencing what Astrid is doing. White Oleander also contains poems, which are told by Ingrid to Astrid either about herself or to Astrid's behavior.
This novel is deep and will change your impression about the world because it showed me that not all homes are well. Reading through the events Astrid endured affected my thinking of homes. The hardships Astrid endured caused me to feel grateful for my home because even though we may have fights it was nothing compared to Astrid's hardship. She was forced to take care of other children, treated like a servant, and at one foster home she starved to the point where she didn't have a menstrual cycle. You are also able to learn lessons from this novel such as to learn from both good and bad so you are able to improve in your own character. In the scene where Ingrid teaches Astrid another lesson about life after breaking up with Barry Kolker, we too can benefit from this lesson. Ingrid says, "Remember it all, every insult, every tear. Tattoo it on the inside of your mind. In life, knowledge of poisons is essential. I've told you, nobody becomes an artist unless they have to". (67)
I recommend this book to those that are slightly more mature because there are certain events in this book that are very graphic. This book contains some sexual scenes and if you are uncomfortable reading these scenes then this is not a book for you. However, once you overcome the sexual scenes it is very interesting to read the view from a child whose parent are in jail and how they cope with that. With the author's style to add many descriptive scenes towards the feeling and setting you are able to experience it from Astrid's point-of-view. Such as during the sexual scene it is very detailed so you can almost feel what she is feeling. The author also provides many poems in this novel to create a deeper impact towards the reader. This is surely not a novel to miss out on because it will surely keep your attention.
0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 21, 2011
I LOVED THIS BOOK!
I loved everything about this book. All the characters were so real, and Astrid's struggles throught the foster home system were interesting to read about. I loved Claire, but I also thought Rena, Nikki, and Yvonne were great characters too and so real.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
I couldn't stand Ingrid, but that's OK because you're not supposed to like her.
Also, Astrid's struggles about not having a dad in her life hit home with me, since I too am experiencing that, and I think other people who are going through that situation would like this book too.
Posted July 19, 2011
Posted June 10, 2011
Posted May 3, 2011
Posted May 2, 2011
Posted March 19, 2011
So much poetic beauty. A book to be read again and again. Heartfelt and magical, substantial. Fills your mind and soul like a breath of fresh air. The movie is good, but this fills you so much fuller and is so much more satisfying!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 13, 2011
Posted February 14, 2011
White Oleander was a heart-tugging story about a young girl as she struggles to grow and survive in a series of foster homes, after her mother murders her ex-boyfriend. Throughout the book Janet Fitch uses realistic situations in which a foster child might find themselves, giving deep insight into how horrid that kind of life could be. The girl, called Astrid, attempts to find herself among the endless sea of faces and acts she's put on for her different homes, all while secretly yearning for her controlling and manipulative mother. The story will sweep you away in a current that refuses to let you catch your footing, and make you think of life in a completely different way than you have ever seen it before.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
The author successfully used several literary devices in this book, making it enjoyable as well as a beautifully written tale. She especially seemed fond of foreshadowing, similes, and symbolism. Here are a few examples:
"I was not surviving in the turquoise house. I was letting my sails crust up with salt." Pg. 114
"You couldn't stop it, Mother. I didn't have to listen to you anymore." Pg. 84
"I arranged my things in shopping bags and slid them under the metal frame of the old-fashioned bed, all my artifacts. All the people I had been. It was like a graveyard under there." Pg. 273
The author uses these devices to deliver a poetic form of the story, and also to create vivid imagery. By using these devices, she was able to construct White Oleander into a literature-rich novel that will influence even amateur writers, and have readers on the edge of their seats eager for more!
The best part about the book was the entire plot. Not a lot of people are aware of what goes on in a foster child's life, and this book offers insight into a rougher kind of life that a foster child might have to go through. Even though you may end up feeling sorry for Astrid,(I felt myself near tears a couple times!) you want to keep reading more, to find out if she ever reaches that happy ending. It's engrossing, surprising, and simply amazing. While White Oleander was a stunning piece of work, it has a worse part to it, like all books. The worst part would have to be the small chapters that describe Astrid's stay in a house full of working girls. It adds to the story and struggle she goes through, but there isn't much character development, and there isn't really reference to the chapters later in the story. It seems more like page fillers than something that needs to be in the book. All the other chapters flow and connect to one another quite neatly, though.
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone I happen to know, friend or otherwise. This book is full of morals and lessons that will be helpful and enjoyable to any person that decides to sit down and read this novel, and will stick with them for years to come. Not only did I like White Oleander; I adored it. I'm sure others will, too.