At first I thought, "oh well," so many people gave this a wonderful review, but I was finding it a bit too slow. I stayed with the book. The writer is excellent, the narrator also captivating. Before long, I found myself tied up with the characters and, I must say, I have known a few of those people myself.
I enjoyed the book and would recommend it. It is a piece of time in Maine. Easy to listen to, not for those seeking action packed drama.
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.
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.
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.
I sincerely feel that the depth of ones enjoyment of this novel will lay solely on the age of the reader. There are many thoughts that the women in this book have that could not be enjoyed and appreciated by a woman younger than 40 years of age. To someone over that age there are points and phrases in this novel that felt like someone was singing the song of a tune that I could only hum.
This is not your happily ever after feel good story. This is a collection of stories about the same group of people. Olive Kitteridge is sometimes the protagonist in a story and other times she gets just a cameo mention. Where you don’t see some of yourself – you see someone you know. I found this to be enlightening and poignant.
Sandra Burr’s voices allows you to hear the size of her characters – they are that visual. Her range of men, children and women is impressive, not to mention her accent.
Say something about yourself!
I wanted to like this book (obviously, because, hey, I paid for the download). But I didn't.
Elizabeth Strout is a reliable creator of complex and interesting characters, bringing their small town New England lives to life for the reader. She has, once again, created the kind of vivid characters she did in "Amy and Issabelle."
I think the biggest fault with this audio book is with the narrator. The tempo plodded. The voices were horrible. I found the "voices" of both Olive and Henry to be grating. And each spoke slowly, to the point where I felt almost held down by the dragging, complaining, lethargic tones.
Olive herself isn't just a cantankerous old woman--she's extremely dislikable. She's great at judging others, while unable (as with most of us) to see her own part in the failures of her life.
She starts to "get it" in the end, but you have to wade through the painful narration to get there.
I enjoy tackling difficult books. I love books that detail the day-to-day doings that everyone must go through. And I love Elizabeth Strout. But I did not love this audio book at all.