Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

Olive Kitteridge is a retired teacher who lives in a small town called Crosby, Maine.  Olive is married and has a grown son and has made an impact on the people she meets.  Olive gets older as the novel progresses and as we read through the curves that life throws her, she searches to understand and come to terms with her life.

Thirteen interconnected stories weave through the town of Crosby, and the core of the novel is Olive.  Each short story in the book has Olive Kitteridge drifting through the pages as people drift in and out of our lives on a daily basis.  Olive is an ordinary woman, living an ordinary life and yet the importance of the so called ordinary life is evident in the pages of this book.

Fiction mirrors life in Olive Kitteridge.  So often I was reminded of the impact one person has on the people they meet on a daily basis.  We may feel insignificant but Strout shows us that we are anything but.   From a walk in the park to a chance meeting of a student, each event in our lives is significant even though we may not see it.  Strout shows us this and more in the pages of Olive Kitteridge. 

I chose to read this book slowly, allowing myself to read one chapter a day for thirteen days.  Every day I couldn't wait to find Olive somewhere in a new story and see how she fit in to the big picture of life that day.  It was like unwrapping a present with care and grace and savoring the memory.  We are all complicated beings, lovable at times and unapproachable too, yet each one of us makes a difference in the world just by being.  Olive Kitteridge reflects that difference we each create in the world and it is beautiful.