Olive Kitteridge is a retired high school math teacher who is an enigma. She’s mercurial, often cranky and always brutally honest, especially with herself. Olive is also often at odds with the changing world around her and the people in her orbit. While not all of the stories assembled here are about her, she has some connection to the characters in them.
I vacillate between being defined as a character or plot driven reader and have decided I have a bit of both in me. With these stories, my love for all things related to characters was fed as the author’s skill at defining them deeply with simplicity and elegance lifted them from the pages into my heart. When I read short stories, I like to stop and reflect after each, to consider the relevant points and explore my feelings about them. This book was no different, except I didn’t need a lot of time for reflection. The writing is that good.
As with all short story collections, at least for me, there are some that resonate more strongly and that certainly happened here. But Olive Kitteridge is who remains in the residue of the aftermath. I didn’t like her very much in the beginning but came to respect her by the book’s end. Her relationship with her husband, Henry, often frustrated me but there came a defining moment where it crystallized and I experienced her growth. I listened to these stories, and highly recommend that format as the narrator gave voice to Olive in an extraordinary way…embodying every aspect of her nature. And, she brought the other characters equally to life. This was an excellent collection of stories with outstanding characterizations. It was perfect for my book club’s discussion.
- Release Date: April 2, 2019
- Narrator: Kimberly Farr
- Audio Length: 12 hours, 2 minutes
- Publisher: Random House Audio