Customer Reviews for

White Oleander

Average Rating 4.5
( 584 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(397)

4 Star

(114)

3 Star

(52)

2 Star

(15)

1 Star

(6)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

9 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

I never believed that a book could truly take hold of your emoti

I never believed that a book could truly take hold of your emotions and exhilerate your senses, but this story drew me into the folds of surprise, heartbreak, and amazing prose.
The story is told from Astrid Magnussen's point of view. She is a young girl (story goes fro...
I never believed that a book could truly take hold of your emotions and exhilerate your senses, but this story drew me into the folds of surprise, heartbreak, and amazing prose.
The story is told from Astrid Magnussen's point of view. She is a young girl (story goes from age 12-18), who lives with her mother, Ingrid, who is a smooth, freeminded poet. They live in an apartment in Hollywood, California. They go to museums, read books by Dmitry and Dostoyevsky, and do poetry readings. Ingrid uses her charm to lure in men and have carefree relationships, but she gets too serious in one of these relationships. After the man breaks it off with Ingrid, she kills him. She is then put into prison and sentenced for life.
So begins Astrid's life of foster care and life altering changes. Throughout the story, Astrid is at 6 different homes, including a children's center. Each home is filled with people and experiences that all take their toll on Astrid and her upbringing. These include: getting involved with a MUCH older man, gun shot wounds, starvation, and a death, to name a few. During her time at these homes, she corresponds with her mother with letters, in which Ingrid is still trying to shape her daughter...even through prison. Astrid soon realizes that her mother wants her to remain unhappy in these homes, so she will still be "needed" by her daughter, and so that she can still influence Astrid into becoming like her.
This is a book where you hope and plead for a good ending, but you're never sure if it will happen or not. This books is remarkable. You'll be mesmerized by Astrid Magnussen adventures. The characters are astonishingly well drawn and practically leap off the page. The writing is a work of art in itself. The plot takes you on a tour through the darkest depths of the human experience and still manages to leave you with a glimmer of hope at the end. A must read book if ever there was one! This book captures the difficulties of "broken families" and the struggle of trying to make your way in the world when you start off at a disadvantage. The languages and images are beautiful and will stay with you. It's one girl's story, but this is one of those books that gives voice to hard truths.

posted by XXXOOOBookwormOOOXXX on September 2, 2014

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

Very good :)

The book was very lyrical and i loved the range of description as well. It's not the same as the book but it is worth reading for sure!

posted by Anonymous on February 19, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2012

    Good book

    This book was like a roller coaster for me, there were times when i struggled to stay interested and then other times when i couldnt put it down. Im only giving it a 2 star because even though the characters were developed sometimes the scenes were not as believable.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 4, 2006

    sad

    I read this book to page 90. This would be a very sad story if it were true, but it is a story from a demented SoCal imagination who probably makes a living at writing. Unfortunately, I am not surprised that so many rave about it. We love to be shocked and this book is unsettling. We need to remember as living, feeling human beings that garbage in produces garbage out. In my humble opinion this your typical trashy novel. Just the kind I am trying to avoid.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 17, 2004

    Disappointing.

    I thought this book was okay. Its just i felt it jumped around to much from one thing to another. Once you were finally getting into the story she totally started on something else. I definitely thought it was going to be better. I recommend seeing the movie and getting the book from the library.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2002

    DEPRESSING

    I read all the time and read a wide variety of books. I found WHITE OLEANDER depressing. I felt so sorry for Astrid, but it got to be a bit much to keep re-reading and re-reading about the lousy dysfunctional people that kept popping up in her life. I won't recommend this one.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2002

    Disappointing

    Perhaps this book would not have been so disappointing if it didn't stretch on for 446 pages. There were some good ideas and I was, at times, touched by Astrid's pain. But enough is enough. I found this novel unnecissarily depressing, overdone, and certainly overhyped. Many of the passages were beautifully written, but Janet Fitch should have used more moderation. She only succeeded in coming off as superfluous.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2000

    This was the second book I read from Oprah and I have to admit I wasn't impressed.

    At first I picked up the book because someone told me it was good, and I was so looking forward to reading one of Oprah's bookclub books. Then I read the back and by coincedence, Astrid is also my name, so naturally I was sucked in. The story was very sad and tragic not only for the character, but because it is very true for many children. I had to force myself to keep reading, there was so much detail that could be skipped and you would still understand the story and its depth. I expected more, but it was a good story and wasn't that mother just terrible!!

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    Posted March 9, 2010

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    Posted August 28, 2013

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    Posted October 29, 2008

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    Posted January 22, 2012

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    Posted August 27, 2011

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    Posted October 28, 2008

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    Posted July 6, 2011

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    Posted November 23, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2011

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