by Elizabeth Strout

Reviewer Rating:


Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout is a group of connected short stories that takes place in Crosby, Maine.  While Olive, the titular protagonist, gets several sections of the book to herself, more than half of the stories are in the perspective of other members of the town.  Through these various angles we get moments of infidelity, suicide, attempted suicide, emotional and physical abuse, theft, hostages, revelations, aging, estrangement, and loneliness.  What is extraordinary about this collection is that while it convinces us that Olive is unequivocally the town's curmudgeon, we can’t help but fall in love with her. Strout gives a small town's cranky, intimidating, retired math teacher a chance, and because she does she creates one of contemporary literature's most memorable and compelling characters.

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