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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 humour, Astrid confronts the challenges of loneliness and poverty, and strives to learn who a motherless child in an indifferent world can be. Tough, irrepressible, funny, and warm, Astrid is one of the most indelible characters in recent fiction. White Oleander is an unforgettable story of mothers and daughters, burgeoning sexuality, the redemptive powers of art, and the unstoppable force of the emergent self.

©1999 Janet Finch(P)1999 Time Warner Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

"Extraordinary. Her prose is full of startling images, snippets of poetry and one magnificent, blisteringly angry 'found' poem. This highly impressive debut takes on all the big themes." Observer
"Hard-hitting, compelling and brilliantly written" Cosmopolitan
"Tangled, complex and extraordinarily written"Observer

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  • Performance
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  • Agata
  • 07-07-14

This book is very addictive

What did you like most about White Oleander?

I love the story of a young women who is growing up, who makes her own choices and comes to independent conclusions. I enjoyed the vivid language as well.

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

I've never read anything like this before.

Which character – as performed by Oprah Winfrey – was your favourite?

Definitely Astrid was my favourite character.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The most moving moment was when Astrid's foster mother dies.

Any additional comments?

This is a dark, disturbing, and beautiful book that you will never forget.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Allyson
  • 04-13-13

Fantastic read could'nt put it down!!

Janet Fitch is a fantastic writer...White Oleander is a fantastic book and a bonus with oprah narrating.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Loopygoose
  • 05-22-17

One of the best books ever.

I absolutely loved this book, its exquisite writing and ability to really show what it is to be a person yearning for the love of a mother and having nothing. There was just one issue, which is that Oprah sounds like and older black woman whereas the MC is a young, blonde girl. Normally this would bother me but she reads so beautifully, getting ever single nuance right, that I couldn't possibly dislike it. Love love love this book!