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

Critic Reviews

  • 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

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  • Overall
  • Alene
  • Montgomery, TX, USA
  • 03-28-03

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 2 people found this review helpful

  • 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 3 people found this review helpful