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White Oleander
     

White Oleander

4.5 586
by Janet Fitch
 

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Astrid is the only child of a single mother, Ingrid, a brilliant, obsessed poet who wields her luminous beauty to intimidate and manipulate men. Astrid worships her mother and cherishes their private world full of ritual and mystery-but their idyll is shattered when Astrid's mother falls apart over a lover. Deranged by rejection, Ingrid murders the man, and is

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White Oleander 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 586 reviews.
XXXOOOBookwormOOOXXX More than 1 year ago
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.
MaggieMcKickButt More than 1 year ago
This book was amazing! It was so much better than the movie! Compared to the book, the movie was absolutely horrible. The characters were pretty much the same. I loved Astrid's strength and bravery throughout the entire book. Even though her mother and other people kept putting her down, she got through it. I felt like I was Astrid the entire book and it made me sad and a little depressed. I wish things like what Astrid went through never happen. It's just not fair.
LizabeeAK More than 1 year ago
This book is not just about a mother and a daughter, nor is it a catalogue of foster care atrocities. It is the journey of a girl, Astrid, as she discovers that it is possible to remember, as well as to move on; to be able to understand hate, as well as love. Reads like a mix of poetry and journalism. I won't forget it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read this book about 7 times. It is an amazing book. Don't judge the book by the movie, the movie was terrible.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read this book once, liked it. Reread it, adored it. now after at least reading it 5 times, i cherish it. The prose reads more like poetry, drawing up as much emotion as a movie. Just beautiful. Highly reccomended.
Guest More than 1 year ago
After several months of books that none of us liked, this was a unanimous winner among our members, creating a great deal of lively discussion. Ceratinly, all of us had thoughts on our own parentage after reading this book, and lacking though we may have found some of our own experiences, they certainly paled by comparison to those of the main character! Other topics discussed- what makes one a surivvor in this world ( and what percentage of the world are true survivors?); the dichotomy of surface beauty vs. intrinsic (or internal) evil; the stages of life awareness experienced by the main character in each of her foster homes; the psychology of each foster mom (or foster situation), and what goodness/pathology/life lessons, etc, could be gleaned from each The list goes on- there were more potential discussions than we had time for over dinner!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Janet Fitch is so much more than a poet. This book is full of many sad truths. I read it often...to remind me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very much in the line of Little Alters Everywhere and Divine Secrets of the YaYa Sisterhood. Damaged daughters, controlling, mentally ill mothers. And how much we need our mothers even when they destroy our lives. I doubt that I will re-read this book, but I'm glad I read it once.
tippiJN More than 1 year ago
I just picked this book up from B&N. I love the style of writing. Great book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book was in 11th grade. It is amazing. Never gets old or boring. It is such a gripping and moving piece of literature. You will cry. You will laugh. You will be shocked. This book is so well written. The characters are very well developed. This book never lags or disappoints. Experiencing this will be one of the best decisions you can make.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Beautifully written, heart breaking story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I honestly love this book. Its amazing, a must read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book, continues to be one of my favorites. A truley enjoyable read, I couldn't put it down!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved ever bit of it!!!!
WWrunner More than 1 year ago
The story is phenominal. The feelings felt real. The characters felt true. And I was hooked pretty much throughout the book. However, I just found it difficult to finish the last 50+ pages or so. I guess I just wished for a different ending. But ultimately, I would read another Oprah's Book Club recommendation.
Awesomeness1 More than 1 year ago
This beautifully crafted novel has a cast of realistic characters you won't soon forget. The wrtiting is pleasant and absorbing. The novel will take you in and make you feel emotion on every page. I whole-heartedly reccomend this!
anavidreaderWY More than 1 year ago
This book leaves an impression. I read it in a day,and thought about it for days after. This is one of the really great books!
Anonymous 3 months ago
I read this novel more than 10 years ago as a recommendation from a friend. This story is I e that will last with you and make you question life with great perspective. It's a little bit haunting as well. I loved it and when I read years ago it was the first of its kind for me. I still have the same copy sharing space with other great novels in my home library. It's definitely worth a read.
Anonymous 8 months ago
Anonymous 11 months ago
I have read this book twice. One of the best books i have ever read. Anyone I have recommended it to also agrees. Curl up with it and lose yourself in this amazing story. Am getting ready to read Paint it Black by the same author.
Skidrow82 More than 1 year ago
I haven't read the book but I saw the film and I found it incredibly emotional. The characters, the situations, the performances, Thomas Newman's heartbreaking music... I don't know whether to buy the book, since the movie was so strong for me. I even had nightmares about it...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My mom once told me that "Atlas Shrugged" had been the one book out of all she read that had affected her a certain way. I never understood what she meant, until now. I love reading, and I take away something from every book, but this book....I can't describe it. It was amazing and sad and triumphant in some places, but most of all, it feels REAL. This book is full of emotion, but it's not saccharine or fake. You feel like your taking the journey with Astrid, and struggling to understand her life with her. I wish I could explain the emotion behind this book better, but I don't have the words. Multiple readings help me understand Astrid more each time, I just know that when I read it for the first time, I felt some kind of understanding that I still can't figure out. This book remains the one book that will always speak to me in some way.
osaka More than 1 year ago
Excellent! Hard to believe this was a debut novel for the author. Couldn't put this book down, I was drawn to the characters. Very interesting story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago