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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

3.9 (275 )
5 star
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4.0 (66 )
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Story
3.9 (68 )
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Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Rebekah Lee 01-21-03
    Rebekah Lee 01-21-03 Listener Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
    37
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    2
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    0
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    Overall
    "Like the wings of a dark bird on a September night"

    This book has more adjectives then a democratic convention. Fluff that takes it's time getting to the point. I found the story interesting but was VERY disappointed that 1) it is the abridged version 2) it isn't true. (my fault for not checking) Top that off with Oprah's reading. I've nothing against Oprah but there is a time and a place for everything. It's hard to get the feeling that a teenaged blond white girl is telling the story who has a voice and accent like Oprah's. Everyone in the story had a "unique" accent that didn't fit (or even come close to) the background they were supposed to be from. This is just a bad match.

    18 of 21 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tracy Oakland, CA, USA 04-09-04
    Tracy Oakland, CA, USA 04-09-04 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    2
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    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "White Oleander"

    I was caught up in the rhythm and language of this book from the first paragraph...In its original form. Too much is lost in the edited version. Oprah has a very rich voice, but I think the maturity and depth is wrong for this book. I hope Audible will post a different version when/if one is available.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elizabeth Missouri City, TX, USA 01-11-04
    Elizabeth Missouri City, TX, USA 01-11-04
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "I stayed up late just to see what happened next..."

    This was my first listen at Audible, and I loved it! True enough, I do wish it was unabridged, it did leave out a bit, but I loved the drama, and even the garden language, I definately enjoyed! I stayed up after my late three hour drive just to hear more...I would rate a must listen!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rina A. Stein Wooster, OH 09-22-06
    Rina A. Stein Wooster, OH 09-22-06 Member Since 2006

    sewkrazy

    HELPFUL VOTES
    91
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    80
    28
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    1
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    Overall
    "Beautifully written, wonderful performance!"

    I read this book some years ago when it first came out, then read it again. It is poetically written and a complex and interesting storey about a daughter's relationship with her insane and controlling mother. I feel I know these characters. I was born in LA and lived West Hollywood until I was twelve...the author is right on target. Oprah's reading of this book is absolutely the best. Her beautiful voice and the way she rounds out the words make this experience like a 6 hour poetry reading. I have hundreds of audible books in my library and this is now in my top 3 favs. Rum Diarys read by Campbell Scott and Raveling read by Eric Stoltz are the other two.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jari Brigham City, UT, USA 05-31-10
    Jari Brigham City, UT, USA 05-31-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    28
    2
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    0
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    "Glad I read it."

    I had seen the movie several years ago and decided to read the book. Excellent story.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mariana Sanlamhof, South Africa 05-23-10
    Mariana Sanlamhof, South Africa 05-23-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "Worth the listen"

    I have listned to the book twice... just to enjoy the richness of Oprah's voice and also because the characters in the book grips your heart.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cj Hyannis, MA, USA 11-17-05
    Cj Hyannis, MA, USA 11-17-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    4
    1
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    0
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    "Captivating"

    Oprah...your talents run wide & run deep. She made this story work for me.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alene Montgomery, TX, USA 03-28-03
    Alene Montgomery, TX, USA 03-28-03
    HELPFUL VOTES
    51
    ratings
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    3
    3
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    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "Abridged version skipped too much!"

    The book was interesting, but I had many unanswered questions. Too much of the book was cut out. I'll stick with unabridged versions.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ogkrip Riverside 10-08-12
    Ogkrip Riverside 10-08-12 Member Since 2012
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    6
    4
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Oprah Winfrey magnificent read"
    What did you love best about White Oleander?

    The story was fabulous but Oprah reading it added so much to it for me, sometimes I didn't even recognize her voice, I loved it so much. Great, great read.


    What other book might you compare White Oleander to and why?

    no comparison


    What does Oprah Winfrey bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Her own take on the characters, bringing them to life. It was truely fabulous


    If you could take any character from White Oleander out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    I'll come back to this one. It wouldn't be so much any of the characters but Oprah and then to talk about the book and the parts we liked/disliked etc.


    Any additional comments?

    I have yet to have a bad read from any of the audible books regardless of author or reader.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Erin Fort McMurray, AB, Canada 03-06-12
    Erin Fort McMurray, AB, Canada 03-06-12 Member Since 2011
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great book, dissappointed about it being Abriged."
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    The book, yes, this version, no. I felt there was a lot that was missed by having it abriged.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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