Olive, Again

Olive, Again

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • OPRAH’S BOOK CLUB PICK • Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Strout continues the life of her beloved Olive Kitteridge, a character who has captured the imaginations of millions.

“Strout managed to make me love this strange woman I’d never met, who I knew nothing about. What a terrific writer she is.”—Zadie Smith, The Guardian

“Just as wonderful as the original . . . Olive, Again poignantly reminds us that empathy, a requirement for love, helps make life ‘not unhappy.’”—NPR

NAMED ONE OF FALL’S MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS BY PeopleTimeEntertainment WeeklyVanity FairBuzzFeedVogueUSA Today • The Seattle TimesHuffPostNewsdayVultureBustleVoxPopSugarGood HousekeepingLitHubBook Riot
Prickly, wry, resistant to change yet ruthlessly honest and deeply empathetic, Olive Kitteridge is “a compelling life force” (San Francisco Chronicle). The New Yorker has said that Elizabeth Strout “animates the ordinary with an astonishing force,” and she has never done so more clearly than in these pages, where the iconic Olive struggles to understand not only herself and her own life but the lives of those around her in the town of Crosby, Maine. Whether with a teenager coming to terms with the loss of her father, a young woman about to give birth during a hilariously inopportune moment, a nurse who confesses a secret high school crush, or a lawyer who struggles with an inheritance she does not want to accept, the unforgettable Olive will continue to startle us, to move us, and to inspire us—in Strout’s words—“to bear the burden of the mystery with as much grace as we can.”

Praise for Olive, Again

“Olive is a brilliant creation not only because of her eternal cantankerousness but because she’s as brutally candid with herself about her shortcomings as she is with others. Her honesty makes people strangely willing to confide in her, and the raw power of Ms. Strout’s writing comes from these unvarnished exchanges, in which characters reveal themselves in all of their sadness and badness and confusion. . . . The great, terrible mess of living is spilled out across the pages of this moving book. Ms. Strout may not have any answers for it, but she isn’t afraid of it either.”The Wall Street Journal

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780593147344
Publisher: Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/15/2019
Edition description: Unabridged
Sales rank: 85,591
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 5.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Elizabeth Strout is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Olive Kitteridge, winner of the Pulitzer Prize; Olive, Again, an Oprah’s Book Club pick; Anything Is Possible, winner of the Story Prize; My Name is Lucy Barton, longlisted for the Man Booker Prize; The Burgess Boys, named one of the best books of the year by The Washington Post and NPR; Abide with Me, a national bestseller; and Amy and Isabelle, winner of the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction and the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize. She has also been a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, the International Dublin Literary Award, and the Orange Prize. Her short stories have been published in a number of magazines, including The New Yorker and O: The Oprah Magazine. Elizabeth Strout lives in New York City.


Brooklyn, New York

Date of Birth:

January 6, 1956

Place of Birth:

Portland, Maine


B.A., Bates College, 1977; J.D., Syracuse College of Law, 1982

Read an Excerpt


Two days earlier, Olive Kitteridge had delivered a baby.

She had delivered the baby in the backseat of her car; her car had been parked on the front lawn of Marlene Bonney’s house. Marlene was having a baby shower for her daughter, and Olive had not wanted to park behind the other cars lined up on the dirt road. She had been afraid that someone might park behind her and she wouldn’t be able to get out; Olive liked to get out. So she had parked her car on the front lawn of the house, and a good thing she had, that foolish girl—her name was Ashley and she had bright blond hair, she was a friend of Marlene’s daughter—had gone into labor, and Olive knew it before anyone else did; they were all sitting around the living room on folding chairs and she had seen Ashley, who sat next to her, and who was enormously pregnant, wearing a red stretch top to accentuate this pregnancy, leave the room, and Olive just knew.

She’d gotten up and found the girl in the kitchen, leaning over the sink, saying, “Oh God, oh God,” and Olive had said to her, “You’re in labor,” and the idiot child had said, “I think I am. But I’m not due for another week.”

Stupid child.

And a stupid baby shower. Olive, thinking of this as she sat in her own living room, looking out over the water, could not, even now, believe what a stupid baby shower that had been. She said out loud, “Stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid.” And then she got up and went into her kitchen and sat down there. “God,” she said.

She rocked her foot up and down.

The big wristwatch of her dead husband, Henry, which she wore, and had worn since his stroke four years ago, said it was four o’clock. “All right then,” she said. And she got her jacket—it was June, but not warm today—and her big black handbag and she went and got into her car—which had that gunky stuff still left on the backseat from that foolish girl, although Olive had tried to clean it as best she could—and she drove to Libby’s, where she bought a lobster roll, and then she drove down to the Point and sat in her car there and ate the lobster roll, looking out at Halfway Rock.

A man in a pickup truck was parked nearby, and Olive waved through her window to him but he did not wave back. “Phooey to you,” she said, and a small piece of lobster meat landed on her jacket. “Oh, hell’s bells,” she said, because the mayonnaise had gotten into the jacket—she could see a tiny dark spot—and would spoil the jacket if she didn’t get it to hot water fast. The jacket was new, she had made it yesterday, sewing the pieces of quilted blue-and-white swirling fabric on her old machine, being sure to make it long enough to go over her hind end.

Agitation ripped through her.

The man in the pickup truck was talking on a cellphone, and he suddenly laughed; she could see him throwing his head back, could even see his teeth as he opened his mouth in his laughter. Then he started his truck and backed it up, still talking on his cellphone, and Olive was alone with the bay spread out before her, the sunlight glinting over the water, the trees on the small island standing at attention; the rocks were wet, the tide was going out. She heard the small sounds of her chewing, and a loneliness that was profound assailed her.

It was Jack Kennison. She knew this is what she had been thinking of, that horrible old rich flub-dub of a man she had seen for a number of weeks this spring. She had liked him. She had even lain down on his bed with him one day, a month ago now, right next to him, could hear his heart beating as her head lay upon his chest. And she had felt such a rush of relief—and then fear had rumbled through her. Olive did not like fear.

And so after a while she had sat up and he had said, “Stay, Olive.” But she did not stay. “Call me,” he had said. “I would like it if you called me.” She had not called. He could call her if he wanted to. And he had not called. But she had bumped into him soon after, in the grocery store, and told him about her son who was going to have another baby any day down in New York City, and Jack had been nice about that, but he had not suggested she come see him again, and then she saw him later (he had not seen her) in the same store, talking to that stupid widow Bertha Babcock, who for all Olive knew was a Republican like Jack was, and maybe he preferred that stupid woman to Olive. Who knew? He had sent one email with a bunch of question marks in the subject line and nothing more. That was an email? Olive didn’t think so.

“Phooey to you,” she said now, and finished her lobster roll. She rolled up the paper it had come in and tossed it onto the backseat, where that mess still showed in a stain from that idiot girl. 

“I delivered a baby today,” she had told her son on the telephone.


“Did you hear me?” Olive asked. “I said I delivered a baby today.”

“Where?” His voice sounded wary.

“In my car outside Marlene Bonney’s house. There was a girl—” And she told him the story.

“Huh. Well done, Mom.” Then in a sardonic tone he said, “You can come here and deliver your next grandchild. Ann’s having it in a pool.”

“A pool?” Olive could not understand what he was saying.

Christopher spoke in a muffled tone to someone near him.

“Ann’s pregnant again? Christopher, why didn’t you tell me?”

“She’s not pregnant yet. We’re trying. But she’ll get pregnant.”

Olive said, “What do you mean, she’s having it in a pool? A swimming pool?”

“Yeah. Sort of. A kiddie pool. The kind we had in the backyard. Only this one is bigger and obviously super clean.”


“Why? Because it’s more natural. The baby slides into the water. The midwife will be here. It’s safe. It’s better than safe, it’s the way babies should be born.”

“I see,” said Olive. She didn’t see at all. “When is she having this baby?”

“As soon as we know she’s pregnant, we’ll start counting. We’re not telling anyone that we’re even trying, because of what just happened to the last one. But I just told you. So there.”

“All right then,” Olive said. “Goodbye.”

Christopher—she was sure of this—had made a sound of disgust before he said, “Goodbye, Mom.”

Customer Reviews

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Olive, Again: A Novel 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 52 reviews.
Anonymous 25 days ago
She continues to be one of my favorite authors and I really like and understand her characterOlive. Loved the way she integrated characters from other novels into this novel and into her life. Waiting for the next one!..
Anonymous 29 days ago
I didn't want this to end!
Anonymous 3 months ago
I waited for this book,only to find I prefer the first centered around Olive.
Anonymous 16 days ago
Olive Kitteridge is a woman who finds life a puzzlement. Prickly on the outside, she is, in her heart , a woman who is profoundly caring. She stumbles through life offending people and having to apologise or atone. She is, with all her flaws, a lovable character, perhaps because we can see ourselves in her humanity. In the end, she still finds life a mystery. Touch and hold a clip to pin it. Unpinned clips will be deleted after 1 hour.
mississippimomreads 18 days ago
Hells Bells and Godfrey! Olive is Back! Elizabeth Strout has produced another novel full of quirky characters and aging narrators and I don't know how she can create a whole town full of characters full of back stories and trauma and personality! This book takes us back to Crosby, Maine, where Olive is now a widow...and is on the heels of marrying again. I know! Who would have thought grumpy ol' Olive would find love again! She is still somewhat estranged from her son and is trying to navigate the world in this new normal without Henry. I enjoyed the book and this Pulitzer Prize winning author has brought us Olive back, but this time in her golden years and maybe final years as she watches loved ones pass over the bridge. I enjoyed this collection of stories, all about Crosby, Maine and its citizens, but preferred the stories where Olive was the focus. If you have previously read Amy and Isabelle or The Burgess Boys, you'll find some of these characters making an appearance in the stories. Thank you to NetGalley and to Penguin Random House for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
mweinreich 29 days ago
This book is going to go into a new file I am calling, "I wish I had liked it more." While it certainly had its many pluses as the irascible Olive was back in rare form, it also had a number of puzzling occurrences and a chapter that had me scratching my head wondering why. Olive is getting older or as we who are in the same boat like to say, becoming more mature. She still goes about, saying "Oliveisms" and ticking off a few people, including family, but she has developed a new inner perspective. It's like Olive looked into a mirror that was able to see inside herself and she wasn't all that thrilled with the reflection. She has a new love in her life, Jack, who recognizes her for the snob she is, but still loves her. Her relationship with her son is always on the fritz as they all walk a very tight line between I can tolerate you and I can't stay in your company another minute. But as mentioned, Olive is maturing, and starts down a road that she should have traveled a long time ago, but hey, better late than never. Perhaps it is never too late to salvage relationships. All in all, this was a good story, although even after a number of days thinking about it I am still a bit perplexed. However, as Olive discovers, and we do as well, there are always gray areas and Olive and her author have explored the grayness and we are left to puzzle out the rest. 4 stars for me and yes, I was a tad disappointed, but I am working on my gray areas. Thank you to Elizabeth Strout, Random House, and NetGalley for a copy of this book due to be published o
paigereadsthepage 3 months ago
The main character, Olive, picks up shortly after where she left off in the previous novel, Olive Kitteridge. While this is the second novel in the series, it can easily be read as a standalone because she recaps the main events that happened in the first novel. However, I recommend reading the first novel in order to appreciate some of the returning characters. Life’s transitions, juxtapositions, and troubles are celebrated through Olive and the other characters. I found the last half of the novel to be extremely emotional. Olive is reaching a fragile point in her life and begins to calculate its significance and purpose. What makes a full life? As Olive ages, she continues to engage in the boulevard of life while trying to amount her existence. In Olive, Again there are thirteen short stories. Out of the 13 short stories, 5 of those are Olive’s direct story. In the remaining 8 stories, Olive makes an appearance in some shape or form. Each short story relates to the central theme of the novel to some degree and occur near or in the setting of Maine. Topics include suicide, sexual freedom, family, adultery, and aging. I love Olive, Again and recommend to lovers of literary sagas and contemporary fiction . Thank you to Elizabeth Strout, Random House, and NetGalley for a copy. Opinions are my own.
Anonymous 14 hours ago
I love Olive Kitteridge, even though she is distinctly unlikeable. There is so much potential in her and at her advanced age she explores that potential. She This is a continuation of the town we first explored in Olive Kitteridge and Olive’s days and life after the first book ended. I would definitely read another book with Olive in it. She’s a cranky, crusty, but lovable curmudgeon, commonly misunderstood in her community. Pick it up. If you haven’t read the first book, what are you waiting for? Read that one and then grab this one. Another great by Ms. Strout! I was given an advanced readers copy of this book by the publisher and netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Denice_L 3 days ago
As I read this follow up to Olive Ketteridge, I again found myself identifying with many of these characters and their daily life's events. Elizabeth Strout writes of a community where everyone knows their neighbor and his business. In a life where secrets are rare, the conversations are often a dance between what you know and what you are not supposed to know....if that makes sense. A very easy book to read, you are immediately part of each story and have a vested interest in your neighbor's news. A great book for any reader, it's sure to be one of your favorites, too.
Duhtruth 4 days ago
Wonderful read. This is about real life. Strout has an interesting style. Characters come in and do unexpected things. Olive, a complex character, is woven into various roles as the stories progress. Olive learns about life and the fact that the things we think we know are challenged at different stages of our lives. Many things are beyond explanation. Change is the only certainty. Some think that the stories of Olive in Olive Kitteredge and Olive, Again are too depressing. I do not feel that way. The excellent writing of Elizabeth Strout expresses reality with its up and downs, highs and lows and unexpected twists and turns. Many of the stories were very thought provoking. I highly recommend both books.
Aqswr 14 days ago
Reading OLIVE, AGAIN is like visiting an old friend, one known for years but not often seen. She is well-drawn by author Elizabeth Strout, impossible to forget or imagine as anyone else. In this book, she is aged and aging and we are allowed to share in her surprises as she faces her newly found limitations and grace notes with uncommon insight and yes, frustration. Strout is an amazing writer but it is her ability to get inside her characters and inhabit them so fully that really makes her writing soar. And this book is truly a treat on all fronts. I can’t praise it enough. I received my copy from the publisher through NetGalley.
MaryND 22 days ago
Olive Kitteridge is back and just as cantankerous as ever in Elizabeth Strout’s new book, “Olive, Again.” I was a huge fan of “Olive Kitteridge” and this sequel does not disappoint—if anything, I thought it was even better. Picking up approximately where the earlier book left off and told in the same interwoven story style, “Olive, Again” delves into the lives of the inhabitants of Crosby, Maine—a teenager struggling with the death of her father; a woman battling cancer; a family finding reconciliation after a shocking revelation; a poet battling depression. Strout’s gift is in portraying the grace and dignity of these seemingly ordinary lives in a way that spotlights the universality and humanness of their struggles. But the star of the show, without a doubt, is Olive, whose brusque, straightforward and often difficult personality belies her bedrock decency. As she deals with her son Christopher, with her neighbors, and with the indignities inherent in getting old, Olive is always a joy, and her relationship with Jack Kennison, who opens the novel, is a delight. If you’ve read and enjoyed “Olive Kitteridge,” this book is a must read. If you haven’t, “Olive, Again” can stand alone, but you might want to start with the earlier book just to get the full scope of Olive’s story, as there are a few references made to events from it that will have more emotional resonance if you do. Highly recommended. Many thanks to NetGalley and Random House for providing me with an ARC of this title in return for my honest review. I loved every page.
MamasGottaRead 24 days ago
Oh Olive! The fact that this sourpuss of a character grew on me is a testament to Ms. Strout's writing ability. However, I must admit that this was a more enjoyable read for me than the first installment of Olive Kitteredge. Olive softened in her old age, and became a joy to get to know. Elizabeth Strout made me laugh, made me cry, and made me truly ponder how I treat my children, my husband, and the rest of my family and friends. Olive Kitteridge lived her life never holding back judgment and was unapologetically blunt. Her ability to judge social cues was absolutely lacking. By the same token, she was incredibly astute and amusingly witty. While Strout provided her readers with an abundance of cringeworthy moments, these were softened by tender instances of realization, and were what ultimately endeared me to dear old Olive. Once again, we are presented with a melange of stories written about a myriad of characters, some familiar and some newly introduced. At first glance the stories seem so random, until one realizes a theme of loss and loneliness, and their connection back to Olive. Strout does a good job of continuing Olive's story with enough of a subdued summary that even readers who didn't read the first novel can enjoy it. Many thanks to Random House Publishing and NetGalley for gifting me with the advanced reader's copy in exchange for an honest review. Mamasgottaread.blogspot.com *** as an addendum, I should have pointed out that there are some highly sensitive topics that made me uncomfortable at times. One such story dealt with a young girl who cleaned the house of an older couple, and exhibited some very disturbing behavior in front of the husband. So although the novel really was an excellent read, I thought this is something I should mention.
Anonymous 25 days ago
I read Strout’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, “Olive Kitteridge,” when it was published in 2008. I have been reading the author’s work ever since. Needless to say, I was delighted when I received an Advance Review Copy (ARC) of “Olive, Again.” As in the original novel, the sequel’s chapters read as interlinked short stories with recurring local characters in the same small town of Maine. Once again, in some way or another, Olive’s presence is always felt, even if she is not in the scene. In this follow up-book, Strout proves that she still is a powerful storyteller, especially when concentrating on the subtle complexities of human relationships. In “Again,” Olive is still an ornery and yet a loveable character. Now we follow her as she grows old, navigating the changes in her life. The novel begins with “Arrested,” which takes place right after the first novel ends. The 74-year-old widower, Jack, is courting 73-year-old Olive. Strout captures the surprise and depression one feels when they realize that they are now part of the invisible population of the elderly—alone and unseen. Strout captures the embarrassing details of the aging body as well. She writes this so well, you might find yourself looking down at the size of your own stomach. You will feel the delight of when a widow and widower find each other and, realize that they are no longer alone. You will also laugh out loud when reading how the couple comes to wonder that if maybe loneliness has its advantages. “Motherless Child” is a story about Olive and her son, Christopher, who was getting married in one of the stories in “Kitteridge.” Here he is married and has children and stepchildren of his own. We follow his family when they come to visit. Olive is excited to see her son and grandchildren. She is proud of herself when she thinks to make the kids peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. The problem is that now Christopher and his family live in NYC and are accustomed to NYC living. They have become more sophisticated, or as Olive feels downright uppity. They are appalled with the measly sandwiches. Christopher and his wife whisper to each other, not aware that Olive can hear them, why didn’t she think of finer foods for their visit. Why did she just knit a scarf and not buy the grandkids proper gifts? Olive feels like a failure. The visit goes from bad to worse when she informs her son that his father, Henry, has been gone for years now and that she plans to get married again to Jack. The author shows us how class and stubbornness can change family dynamics, leaving the reader feeling very sad for the protagonist. “Labor” is wickedly funny. Olive goes to a baby shower. Never known for her patience, she keeps wondering how long she'll have to sit there. The reader can feel what she must be thinking: In her day, no one had such events. When having a baby, you received your family and friends’ hand-me-downs. Period. She is bored out of her mind. (Admit it, if you have ever been to a baby shower it can get tedious fast). In her typical quirky, direct manner she says all the wrong things. But when another guest, who is pregnant herself, goes into labor, it is Olive who delivers the baby. She is no longer bored. It may not be the most believable tale. Still, it is one of my favorites in the book. Stout ensures that her readers remember that bad can go to good in a heartbeat. All of the chapters/tales in the novel are written with humor and compassion.
Nancyadair 26 days ago
lizabeth Strout's Olive, Again only confirms her as one of my favorite contemporary writers of literary fiction. The temperamental Olive in her later decades demonstrates qualities that only come with experience and self-reflection, enabling her to be an instrument of grace to others. She is still a straight-shooter who sees things unvarnished, her truthfulness sometimes abrasive. The stories in this book revisit characters from Strout's fictional world of Crosby, Maine. This was a hard story to read. At age 67, my husband and I have undergone several surgeries this year. I am all too aware of the brevity of life and how we allow ourselves to be propelled through the years impassively until some change in our abilities stops us up short. We reconsider our mistakes; our view of the past and its relationships become torqued with new understanding. We wonder how we could have allowed love to become a battleground, fear to fence us from our dreams. We become invisible, an unwanted portend to others of their own inevitable future. We recognize that we are strangers to each other--and are incomprehensible even to ourselves. What kind of life can we live in these ever-shortening days? The answer is in the line that had me in tears: "I think our job--maybe even our duty--is to--" Her voice became calm, adultlike. "To bear the burden of the mystery with as much grace as we can." Life is a mystery. People are a mystery. There are no answers, no easy to follow instructions to guarantee success and happiness. Like Ranier Maria Rilke wrote in his Letters to a Young Poet, we must "be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves like locked doors and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue.."* I don't know if Olive's story is completed. And I am not sure I want to follow her to her end. It's all too close to home. Strout is a fearless writer who dares to confront us with things that disturb our equilibrium. We recognize ourselves in her characters. I read a free ebook from the publisher through NetGalley. My review is fair and unbiased.
Kelly_Hunsaker_reads 27 days ago
Before reading this book, I never liked Olive Kitteridge, but only blamed myself. The first book won the Pulitzer and readers I trust have loved the book. So I have always thought I must have read it at the wrong time or just missed something. Now, I know that isn't true. I still dislike her. She is far too blunt and judgmental. She is dull and boring, pessimistic and has an ugly view of the world. She would never be a person I befriended. Everything about her is offputting. The only thing I like about Olive is her intelligence. I love a smart woman. However, she directs that brainpower in all the wrong ways. There are so many things that I should like about her. She obviously loves her son and her grandchildren who are distant and remote from her. She longs for companionship and has outlived two husbands. She is aging and unhealthy. She is isolated and lonely. I understand these things well. I am recently an empty-nester and my husband works many hours. I am disabled and stuck at home for much of my time. Olive and I have some things in common. But the problem is I do not look at the world in the same way as she does and I don't respect her judgmental nature. Sadly, I never connected to Olive or the people around her and the book didn't work very well for me. If you enjoyed the first book, though, you will likely love this one as it is very true to the first. I want to thank Netgalley, Ms. Strout and Random House Publishing for the digital ARC in exchange for my honest review.
Xkoqueen 28 days ago
In Olive, Again, author Elizabeth Strout gives her readers more of the churlish, judgmental and highly disliked Olive Kitteridge. As with the first book, the story is told through interwoven short stories. In this second book, Olive is featured prominently in most of the stories (whereas there were many stories in the first book in which she only had a cameo appearance). Age and loneliness have softened Olive a little bit. While outwardly brutally honest and outspoken, readers have insight to Olive’s vulnerabilities through her inner dialogue. There were times I felt her sadness and regret deeply—especially as it related to her estranged son and grandchildren. Olive has moments of enlightenment, however, she believes a change will not beget the reward she desires at this point in her life. “…she just sat I her chair and watched her birds at the feeder outside her window and thought that she was not unhappy.” For all her claims of being blue collar and “salt-of-the-Earth”, Olive is, in fact, quite the snob. On one hand she claims to be an extreme liberal, and on the other hand she has no tolerance and is quite judgmental of anyone who she considers pedestrian or “wrong” (e.g., anyone who doesn’t share her views). The dichotomy of how misunderstood she feels and how disparaging she is of others makes Olive Kitteridge a conundrum. Do I empathize with her? Do I hold her in contempt? The answer is a little of both. As with most people, Olive has muddled through life the best she can. Sometimes she is curt and brusque, and at times she displays compassion (in a stoic, Mainer way). Her mistakes have cost her dearly in terms of a son who cannot forgive her for her imperfections. That painful penance is balanced by several encounters with former students who clearly were positively influenced by their high school math teacher. A creatively told tale about human frailty and misgivings, about love, longing and regret, Olive, Again is a bit more melancholy and introspective than the first book. With the exception of the unnecessary inclusion of political opinion, Olive Again would have been the perfect sequel to the story of the highly opinionated and bluntly honest Olive Kitteridge.
Anonymous 28 days ago
I loved the connected stories of Crosby, Maine that involves Olive Kitteridge. There were many life lessons woven through these stories. I highly recommend this book to all ages.
lhill82125 29 days ago
I love Olive Kittridge, she is her own woman even if sometimes she finds herself a bit outspoken LOL. She makes us all take a look at our own senior years and just what they might be like. Thank you for such a great book!
rcahill 29 days ago
I am sometimes nervous about reading books by Pulitzer winners, will it be too high brow or too dry? I am glad I took a chance on Olive Again, by Elizabeth Strout, as it is down-to-earth and fast-moving. Strout reintroduces Olive, a curmudgeon spending her golden years in Crosby, Maine. Olive is quick-witted and observant and the book switches between her life and those adjacent to her. The chapters fly by, as does the book’s timeline, and you learn about the characters that surround Olive in her small town. If you are hesitant to try Literary Fiction, this would be a great place to start. In fact, Olive Kitteridge was the original in this series and won the Pulitzer in 2009, so head that way for an accessible entry into the world of Literary Fiction!
Anonymous 29 days ago
I confess I don't remember much about the original Olive Kitteridge novel, except it was quirky, Olive was a difficult character, and I liked her. Olive, Again is even quirkier, a series of chapters containing characters who mostly connect through Olive. Olive is honest to a fault, blunt, impatient, self-centered but she grows on you. She has a way of cutting through to the heart of a matter with a kind of awkward grace. So much that seems random in this book actually proves not to be. I believe Elizabeth Strout is a careful writer and I believe she sets ups scenarios and wisdom for us to find. The stories are about loyalty and love, forgiveness and acceptance. And there's a strong thread of dark almost Flannery O'Connor like humor which runs through -- check out the story about the young dominatrix. Wonderul life, unforgettable characters. Thanks to the Publisher and to Net Galley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest reviews.
357800 29 days ago
"Olive thinks everything is crap".....or does she. Elizabeth Strout is back and so is the memorable curmudgeon Olive Kitteridge. Somewhat older now and heavier, but she's still formidable with her forthright personality and smart-mouth tell it like it is comments that seem to explode out of her. Everyone in Crosby, Maine whether visitor or resident seems to have a truckload of major problems in their life, and they all seem to know or are connected to Olive in one way or another. The format of this novel is similar to book one as we are introduced to a variety of characters, both old and new and their outlandish, often complex stories. Olive is still a hoot, honest to a fault, but a person with a good heart and worries of her own as she admits to and laments a multitude of mistakes in her life. OLIVE, AGAIN will break your heart and make you smile with its honest emotion. (So agree with her assessment of petunia's and not wanting to go over the bridge!) ***Arc provided by Random House Publishing Group - Random House via NetGalley in exchange for review***
Jataylor1010 29 days ago
The original novel Olive Kitteridge is one of my favorite all-time books. Needless to say, I was excited to see Elizabeth Strout had written Olive, Again. The characters of Olive, Jack, Olive's son Christopher and others are as striking and memorable here as in the first book. Strout is able to draw these characters and reexamine others in a way that makes them unforgettable. The reader feels part of the narrative, and wants the story of Olive in Crosby, Maine to continue indefinitely.
mainlinebooker 29 days ago
Oh how I have missed my sweet curmudgeon Olive....That does sound like an oxymoron but in Olive's case it is no mistake. In her previous book we were introduced to Olive, the same cantankerous, obstinate, blunt woman we face now but time has softened her edges and replaced SOME of her insensitivity with her understanding of human behavior and relationships that Strout pens with a deft touch. Don't get me wrong; she is still the same old Olive but this book delves more into issues that arise as the years accumulate. Divorce happens, illness arrives, misgivings abound, and family misunderstandings and loneliness materialize. These are all embedded in stories of compassion and intimacy and friendship. I think I even loved this Olive even more peering at her vulnerability during the aging process. It is not crucial to read the previous book before this one, but I think it adds another dimension to fleshing out this terrific character. Run to see her. You will just smile at being in her company.
Dedee1 29 days ago
I didn't realize that there was a previous book about Olive when I chose this book to read. It would be beneficial to have read the first book in order to understand the character better. Not having known the characters it took a while to determine the premise of more a collection of short stories that involve a day in the life of Olive and sometimes Jack. She is a quirky, simple, sometimes intense individual that often 'has no filter' or for the most part, just speaks whatever comes to mind. On occasion you are given what is on her mind without it being spoken. Sometimes it is the day in the life of someone else and how they !at remember Olive or randomly bump into her in town. It is a thought provoking and entertaining study of a quirky character.