Okay, now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, I’ll tell you a little about it: Olive Kitteridge is a retired schoolteacher in her early seventies living in the small coastal town of Crosby, Maine. She is sometimes harsh and sarcastic, sometimes witty, sometimes feisty and possessive, sometimes strangely compassionate and intuitive. She is deeply flawed, and yet I loved her.
Each chapter in this novel is a story unto itself. In many of them, Olive is the main character, but in some she just passes through, or is briefly mentioned. We learn about her husband Henry and her grown son Christopher, as well as a host of other townspeople. There wasn’t a single story that I didn’t like. I must have marked a dozen passages that I want to go back and read over and over again because they are so perfectly described, so poignant, so true, so inspiring.
This book is supremely well-written. It’s easy to see how it won the Pulitzer Prize. I didn’t breeze through it, but took the entire month to read it. After each story I wanted to decompress, to take it all in. The main thing I liked about it was that it made me appreciate life. It made me not want to take anything for granted, which seems to be a theme with me lately. I kind of feel like I’m an elderly person stuck in a 27-year-old body, for all the premature nostalgia I experience on a daily basis.
Five out of five stars, no question. I’d like to read it again someday.
Next month’s book will be The Guernsey Literary Potato Peel and Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer. As always, you’re welcome to read along!