I am a college professor and professional actor, director and playwright. The peformance of the book is as important to me as the writing.
Life's sweet ache
There are too many to mention, it is probably one of the most memorable books I have ever read.
This is a must read/listen for anyone who likes stories with beautifully rendered characters. Written with humor and deep understanding of her subjects, Elizabeth Strout seems to be able to capture the heart of all of her characters in a way that few writers can. She hones in of the pain and suffering of marriage, aging and small town life while also finding the irony and humor of the human condition. The reader, Sandra Burr, is spot on. Without using gimicky voices or vocal tricks, she brings a brilliantly done and artful nuance to every moment of the story. She is probably one of the best readers I have ever heard. I just adore this book and plan to read all of Strout's other books. This is one of the most beautifully written stories I have had the pleasure to read. Amazing book and absolute MUST.
I kept having to learn a whole new set of characters, with this boring ordinary woman coming in to each story. I really don't understand how it was on the NYT's best sellers list for so long. I really didn't enjoy this story.
As I looked through the reviews and saw the strong positive and strong negative range (with little in between), I knew I was in for a treat. Anything that draws such feelings is written with true power and emotion I find. This is not escapist reading or especially light, but it is incredibly rewarding in the wise, sometimes even elegiac, light Strout sheds on the lives of ordinary people struggling through the challenges of outwardly unexceptional lives. As is true in life itself, these folks are often frustrating, silly, misguided, and, yet, all too real. I'm not sure I would have enjoyed this book as much twenty years ago . . . I think you have to have been seasoned by life a bit to appreciate the challenges we all face as the 'seasonings' of life are applied and acquired . . .
I really enjoyed this book and hated to see it end. Well written and rich characters. I don't write many reviews but had to put in a recommendation for this. If you like well-written fiction, you'll love this book.
This is a rather intriguing collection of inter-related stories that take place in a small town in Maine. We see the human growth of Olive Kitteridge, a retired schoolteacher and a fascinating character. She is the focus of most of these stories and at least makes an appearance in every one of them. The stories and the excellent narration give a vivid sense of life in this small town. Marital and inter-generational conflicts are portrayed with believable honesty. In general, the female characters are better developed than the male ones, but that is presumably the point of view of these stories. Quite enjoyable.
I have read and listened to many books and this one is a real classic. It takes some getting used to Sandra Burr, but once you're into her narration you can't imagine a better listen. The text itself is breathtaking and true to our humanness and life struggles. This book and audio-book are MUST read/listen--without a doubt. Do it. Listen. Now. This is an amazing piece of literature.
If you like Maeve Binchy, the Irish writer who weaves short stories with recurring characters into a novel, you make like this one. The reader is wonderful at changing voices and her New England accent is easy to listen to.
I will probably listen to this one again because I need to get straight some of the characters that reappear. All in all, a good read.
I have generally been happy with pulitzer prize winning books. I loved both Lonesome Dove & The Road so I thought I'd give this a try.
I'm not one for short stories, but I enjoyed this book. Olive Kitteridge is in each story, sometimes as a centerpiece character & in others a tertiary character. Olive was at times difficult to like & other times funny. Whatever was going on, I found her always compelling. Most of the stories and their characters, I thought, were captivating in their own way. The stories were written with great rhythm & not remotely boring. Ultimately, I felt I got a snapshot in time of the various people in Olive's life and they were often sad, troubled, unhappy but there were also times of joy and love. Even though the positive moments were fleeting, the life many of the characters lived were written in an honest and real manor. I felt these people and their circumstances could really have happened...lost loves, old age, angry children, infidelity, suicidal ideation, new love, grief & just plain neuroses.
I cannot say that this book was my favorite, but it was different, interesting, intriguing. Yes, sad at times, but also uplifting and inspirational in how people picked up & carried on. Some may view this book to be about aging, family or even love. I believe this book's about perseverence-never give up.
I feel a review of the narration is important too since we rely so heavily on the narrator's interpretation of the book. I thought Sandra Burr's narration was quite slow. However, I thought her timing perfect. Listening to her read, I was not distracted but captivated by her. She did not read the book in any particular accent. However, when she did the voices, she used the Maine accent. She also sounded youthful or old when needed. She managed the men's voices quite well too. there were many times that her interpretation of the characters' voices punctuated my positive experience, & made it seem more real.
Newly retired, I am a reading fiend! I like many types of books, both fiction and non-fiction, with the exception of romance and fantasy
but I stuck with it. It is a strong indictment of the senior years and this book does not make the "golden years" something to look forward to or welcome. Too many calamities and problems--death by anorexia, infidelity, near drowning, lonliness, etc, etc. And let's face it, Olive is not an admirable or likeable lady. Still, it was a listenable and sometimes interesting story of a women with a difficult personality.
Outstanding narration brought to life the many characters who cross Olive's path in the autumn of her life. The book is a meditation on aging, loneliness, love and death. Not for the fainthearted, and not for the young, but worth every minute. (or maybe that's just because I'm from New England, and the daughter of a flinty old crone).