Saturday, April 23, 2011

Olive Kitteridge book review: I Trust Elizabeth Strout

One Minute Book Review
Olive Kitteridge
by Elizabeth Strout
In Word for Word productions,
actors read aloud the entire chapter,
including "he said, she said."

Joel Mullennix directed two chapters
from Strout's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “Olive Kitteridge."

At Theater Artaud, San Francisco, Sept 2010,
& later at Standord Univ. 2011,
starring Warren David Keith & Patricia Silver.


One of the most important things I look for in a book is: "Do I trust the writer?" 
When the writer reveals characters through what they feel or do, is this really human nature?

I'm not a fan of those family dramas, the "real life" of mature people; for example, I was unable to force myself through Judy Picoult's The Deep End of the Ocean. 
But Olive Kitteridge, the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by this woman, Elizabeth Strout:


Elizabeth Strout, 2009

-is what I mean when I say a "book about real grown-ups." But it's so good, that anyone can catch on, "real grown-up" or not.

Olive is the strong-natured, complex seventh-grade math teacher in a small Maine town. We follow her from middle age into old age, and we watch her influence on others. Strout suggests, that who can say what is good and what is bad?

I'm not going to review this book, because that has been adequately done by many, and I don't disagree. I just happened to finish this book today and found it a star example of what I mean by "trusting a writer."

Ok here's some phrases from reviewers just on the book jacket: "nuanced, profoundly moving, depths of feeling, profound insights, impossible to forget, ruthless honesty, quiet grief, compromises, endurance, human connection. . ."
You see?

In case you think that all those earnest words add up to boring-- that's entirely misleading. The writing sweeps along and the book is quite entertaining.

Frances McDormand knows good literature!
She has optioned the book for HBO,
and will play Olive.

1 comment:

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