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White Oleander | [Janet Fitch]

White Oleander

In this gripping first novel, a young girl, orphaned when her mother murders an ex-lover, endures the shuffle of a foster child's life. Oprah enjoyed her book club pick so much that she narrates the audiobook edition!

Browse more Oprah Picks.

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Publisher's Summary

Astrid is the only child of a single mother, Ingrid, a brilliant, obsessed poet who wields her luminous beauty to intimidate and manipulate men. Astrid worships her mother and cherishes their private world full of ritual and mystery - but their idyll is shattered when Astrid's mother falls apart over a lover. Deranged by rejection, Ingrid murders the man, and is sentenced to life in prison. White Oleander is the unforgettable story of Astrid's journey through a series of foster homes and her efforts to find a place for herself in impossible circumstances. Each home is its own universe, with a new set of laws and lessons to be learned. With determination and humor, Astrid confronts the challenges of loneliness and poverty, and strives to learn who a motherless child in an indifferent world can become. Oprah Winfrey enjoyed this gripping first novel so much that she not only made it her book club pick, she asked if she could narrate the audio release.

Check out more selections from Oprah's Book Club.

©1999 by Janet Fitch; (P) and ©1999 Time Warner AudioBooks (Packaging Elements Only), A Division of Time Warner Trade Publishing

What the Critics Say

  • An Oprah Book Club selection

"...[an] impressive first novel.... her startlingly apt language relates a story that is both intelligent and gripping." (The New York Times Book Review)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (271 )
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4.0 (63 )
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3.9 (66 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Avril Tel Mond, Israel 03-27-11
    Avril Tel Mond, Israel 03-27-11 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    "Very enjoyable"

    Oprah's narrative was wonderful. I couldn't press the stop button on my mp3. The story carried you along and kept me captivated. Highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Beach Reader Delray Beach, FL 06-02-04
    Beach Reader Delray Beach, FL 06-02-04 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    1
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    Overall
    "Spare yourself the heartache."

    Although this book is beautifully written, the content is exasperating. Remembering that this is fiction....How much is one child suppose to suffer? Each character is tragic, each situation more hideous than the next. You ache for this child from the moment you are introduced to her. Her mother is a controlling monster who won't stand for happiness and finds contentment in the suffering of her child. I could barely make myself stick with it until the end. There are far too many other worthy books to read/listen to.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Whatever LGP, IL 11-01-03
    Whatever LGP, IL 11-01-03 Member Since 2003

    pcohen88

    HELPFUL VOTES
    55
    ratings
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    24
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    "Enjoyed listening - but not a favorite"

    The story was interesting and has the classic love/hate partental relationship. The abridgement made the story a bit scattered but I liked it. Characters are realistic, no super human fiction here.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    LB in Dallas Dallas, Tx United States 05-11-03
    LB in Dallas Dallas, Tx United States 05-11-03 Member Since 2002

    marlin515

    HELPFUL VOTES
    236
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    391
    71
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    Overall
    "I hope the unabridged versiion is better"

    This didn't do much for me. Oprah has some great choices and I applaude her support for reading but this book was weak.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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