I just finished a very interesting book.Olive Kitteridge, by Elizabeth Strout, is presented in a series of short stories within the ongoing story of a woman's later years in life. It was a hard book for me to get into; I kept reading a little and tossing it aside, but after a while, I couldn't put it down.
The short stories are about the lives of residents of a small town in Maine, all tied together with one individual: Olive Kitteridge, a retired school teacher. She is a big part of some of the stories; in others, she is barely mentioned. But she is a very strong presence.
The most poignant part of the book is when Olive is in her seventies, looking back on her life. Although she is lonely and tired, she acts self-righteous, hateful and superior. She thinks people around her are only trying to make her life miserable, and often wonders why all these things keep happening to her. At times, you want to slap her big sarcastic face; other times, you completely understand what she is thinking.
Elizabeth Strout's writing is gutsy and powerful, emotional and moving. I won't soon forget Olive Kitteridge.