Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

Emotional, raw, and unapologetically realistic. It’s no wonder Olive Kitteridge won the Pulitzer Prize.

Olive Kitteridge is a former math teacher with a tough and bristly exterior. Like most people who come across this way, Olive has her own demons to battle in private and an incredible understanding of human nature. olive

Each chapter tells a separate story involving people who live in Olive’s hometown, Crosby Maine. Sometimes Olive plays a central role, other times she is just hovering somewhere on the periphery. Each chapter weaves together to tell an incredible story of love, life, death, and the human condition.

I absolutely loved this book. I found myself identifying so many times with Olive. Her insights into human nature and life were incredibly profound at times. Even though she comes across as such a tough cookie, I feel as though she could very well be a creative free spirit trapped in a mundane and disappointing world.

It took me quite a few days to read Olive Kitteridge. I needed to stop and let each chapter sink in before I was able to move onto the next one. If you decide to check it out, be prepared for an emotional rollercoaster.

Even my cat loved Olive Kitteridge!

Best Quotes:

“You couldn’t make yourself stop feeling a certain way, no matter what the other person did. You had to just wait. Eventually the feeling went away because others came along. Or sometimes it didn’t go away but got squeezed into something tiny, and hung like a piece of tinsel in the back of your mind.”

“Had they known at these moments to be quietly joyful? Most likely not. People mostly did not know enough when they were living life that they were living it.”

“She didn’t like to be alone. Even more, she didn’t like being with people.”

“Olive’s private view is that life depends on what she thinks of as “big bursts” and “little bursts.” Big bursts are things like marriage or children, intimacies that keep you afloat, but these big bursts hold dangerous, unseen currents. Which is why you need the little bursts as well: a friendly clerk at Bradlee’s, let’s say, or the waitress at Dunkin’ Donuts who knows how you like your coffee. Tricky business, really.”

“Traits don’t change, states of mind do.”
“Don’t be scared of your hunger. If you’re scared of your hunger, you’ll just be one more ninny like everyone else.”
At times stern, at other times patient, at times perceptive, at other times in sad denial, Olive Kitteridge, a retired schoolteacher, deplores the changes in her little town of Crosby, Maine, and in the world at large, but she doesn’t always recognize the changes in those around her: a lounge musician haunted by a past romance; a former student who has lost the will to live; Olive’s own adult child, who feels tyrannized by her irrational sensitivities; and her husband, Henry, who finds his loyalty to his marriage both a blessing and a curse.

As the townspeople grapple with their problems, mild and dire, Olive is brought to a deeper understanding of herself and her life–sometimes painfully, but always with ruthless honesty. Olive Kitteridge offers profound insights into the human condition–its conflicts, its tragedies and joys, and the endurance it requires.

ISBN: 140006208X (ISBN13: 9781400062089)
Published:  March 25th 2008 by Random House (first published September 30th 2007)
Genre: Literary Fiction, Contemporary Fiction
Pages: 270
Source: I bought my copy
My Rating: 5/5 stars

Guest Book Review By Brooke: Explicit Instruction by Scarlett Finn

Brooke is a dear friend of mine and a fellow bookworm from way back.Today she has reviewed Explicit Instruction which is the first novel of the ‘Explicit’ series by Scarlett Finn. Welcome to Scatterbooker Brooke and thank you for sharing your review.

Title: Explicit Instruction      explicitinstruction

Author: Scarlett Finn

Published: September 30, 2014. Self Published

Genre: Adult Fiction, Erotica

Pages: 341

Brooke’s Rating: 3.5/5

Description From Goodreads:

‘I wouldn’t do that if I were you.’

Stranded and searching for a phone, Flick inadvertently walks into danger, and finds herself living in a nightmare. But an unexpected reprieve comes in the form of a stranger, a looming silhouette more terrifying than the evil that captured her. From him she learns that danger has an alias, Rushe. He is abrupt, crude, domineering…and her only hope for survival.
With freedom a distant memory, Flick is reluctantly drawn into the criminal plot. As she descends further, her entanglement with Rushe becomes deeper. The adventure she started by accident threatens them; but Flick knows it’s not only her life she is battling for, it’s her heart as well.

Warning: Contains explicit language and imagery.

Brooke’s Thoughts:

I received this copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

This was the first book I’ve read by Scarlett Finn and I have to say I was impressed. Initially I was unsure about where the story was going, but it quickly picked up pace.

The story is about Flick, the protagonist, who’s inability to follow instructions lands her in a very dangerous situation. She is taken captive by a group of men who sell women into sex slavery. She finds herself under the watch of one man, Rushe, who despite being a self confessed ‘bad guy’, takes her under his wing and helps keep her safe.

The story is dark and very erotic, and at times quite suspenseful. It reminded me in some ways of the Captive in the Dark trilogy by CJ Roberts, another very dark read, which I enjoyed.

The writing in the novel was good and flowed well. The relationship that forms between Flick and Rushe was initially based around sex only, but develops into much more. Their developing relationship is what kept me hooked, wanting to know more.

All in all, a good read. I would be interested in reading a follow up to this story and hearing more about where Flick and Rushe end up.

View Explicit Instruction on Goodreads

Purchase Explicit Instruction from Amazon

If you would like to read more about Flick and Rushe check out Explicit Detail and Explicit Memory which are both available now from Amazon.