Olive Kitteridge

Olive Kitteridge Summary


In a voice more powerful and compassionate than ever before, New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Strout binds together thirteen rich, luminous narratives into a book with the heft of a novel, through the presence of one larger-than-life, unforgettable character: Olive Kitteridge.

At the edge of the continent, Crosby, Maine, may seem like nowhere, but seen through this brilliant writer’s eyes, it’s in essence the whole world, and the lives that are lived there are filled with all of the grand human drama–desire, despair, jealousy, hope, and love.

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 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 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.

People • USA Today • The Atlantic • The Washington Post Book World • Seattle Post-Intelligencer • Entertainment Weekly • The Christian Science Monitor • San Francisco Chronicle • Salon • San Antonio Express-News • Chicago Tribune • The Wall Street Journal

“Perceptive, deeply empathetic . . . Olive is the axis around which these thirteen complex, relentlessly human narratives spin themselves into Elizabeth Strout’s unforgettable novel in stories.”—O: The Oprah Magazine

“Fiction lovers, remember this name: Olive Kitteridge. . . . You’ll never forget her. . . . [Elizabeth Strout] constructs her stories with rich irony and moments of genuine surprise and intense emotion. . . . Glorious, powerful stuff.”—USA Today

BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from Elizabeth Strout’s The Burgess Boys.

Book Reviews


Amazing book. Beautiful stories5 star

The characters feel so real and deep despite the short Story narrative. What a wonderful book with a heartfelt collection of stories woven together by a common thread.55


True to life4 star

It’s sad what life does to us but the author nailed it here. A little difficult to follow all the characters45

Becca L. Rockwood

Stories of Aging and Relationships4 star

This book offers a glimpse into the somewhat depressing process of aging. The collection of short stories revolves around Olive Kitteridge, who is a schoolteacher in Maine. Although she is the central character, the novel offers various tales about her family and members of her community. These are often dark and disturbing and Olive's teaching career is rarely discussed. However, the book contains a detailed writing style and interesting character dialogue. I read the second book in the series first, but either can be read as standalone works.45


Boring unhappy women1 star

A few moments of self reflection over a lifetime does not make a good book.15


Lost the whole time1 star

I tried so hard to like this book but I was lost the whole time, like I walked in on the middle of a conversation and could never figure out what was going on and that the conversation was not that good to begin with. Nothing grabbed me with the story, no character kept me thinking, no scene was set to remember. I don’t even really know what the book was trying to get at. There is so much better out there. Give this one a skip15


Who knows?1 star

Maybe if I could read the book I purchased, Olive Kitteridge, I could review it positively. Unfortunately, I bought it this morning from iTunes and after seven or more hours the app still pops up a message to say it’s downloading and will be available in my library when it is downloaded. Meanwhile, it looks like any other downloaded book in my library—puzzling and disappointing. I was ready to switch from another very popular book seller, but perhaps it was a mistake.15


Beautifully written5 star

This book was beautiful. With every single story I was enthralled and couldn’t put it down. Started off a little slow but once I got into it I couldn’t stop. At the end of every one I had almost an epiphany about life. Each story makes you think and re-evaluate how you think. It truly is a book about life. While that makes some moments tough to get through, you realize the meaning of each one by the end. One of my favorite books of all time.55


Olive Kitteridge5 star

Could anyone play Olive except Frances Mcdormand? I saw the series first and actually read the sequel first before reading the original. Hope that Olive again makes it to HB.55


Olive Kitteridge5 star

Love this book! The odd thing is, I tried reading Olive Kitteridge few years ago and had to put it down. The story was depressing. I couldn’t stand Olive. She was a horrible woman, wife and mother. A few years have passed and recently I gave the book another try- After all there must be something good about it if it’s a bestseller and a Pulitzer Prize winner, right? Maybe the timing had to be right for me to appreciate/“hear“ Olive’s story because this time I read the whole book and was very moved. Elizabeth Strout is an amazing writer! I immediately went on to read the sequel -Olive, Again. (👍!)55


Olive Kitteridge5 star

Had to put this down once but picked it up again. It HAD to be good reading if it won a Pulitzer Prize, right? This time it grabbed me at the beginning and held me until the end. Strout’s writing was superb. The lives lived by several of the “townies” in Olive’s life reminded me of my friends, neighbors and relations. The author’s ability to describe a landscape or personal interaction with beautiful metaphors and similes had me shaking my head in awe at the skillful use of her craft. Olive is a crusty piece of work. Damaged, flawed and defensive but so like someone I know, I would love to be her friend. She would always tell me the truth I wouldn’t want but needed to hear. And low maintenance! Thank you for Olive, Elizabeth.55

Other Books by Elizabeth Strout

My Name Is Lucy Barton


My Name Is Lucy Barton
3.5     995
Olive, Again


Olive, Again
3.5     2773
The Burgess Boys


The Burgess Boys
4     769

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