Olive, Again

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 31 Oct 2019

Member Reviews

Olive Kitteridge is one of my favourite books that I’ve read this year, so I jumped at the chance to read Olive, again 

We’re reunited with the small town in Maine where Olive lives, and the lives of the small town folk. Olive continues to startle and move us and Strout truly continues the magic of Olive through to the sequel. ⁣
Just like the first book, Strout weaves separate stories together in such a natural and moving way. Olive is now reaching her later life and this book focuses on the difficulties of growing older; past regrets, losing loved ones and losing yourself. ⁣
Strout’s writing is so subtle and honest, she manages to write such multilayered characters who you feel as if you know them personally. Once again I couldn’t recommend getting to know Olive Kitteridge enough.
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Loved this book. I'm sure every one know someone like Olive. She tells it as it is but really has a heart of gold. Good strong character.
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I really loved Olive Kitteridge and the small-screen adaptation starring the amazing Frances McDormand so I couldn’t wait to read this. I was not disappointed. Olive is such an interesting character. She’s not a particularly nice person but you can’t help love her. This is set some years after the first book with Olive navigating old age. I fell in love with her all over again. What I enjoyed is that Olive, Again doesn’t only focus on her but everyone who touches her life. This is a lovely book. I really hope they adapt this for the small-screen as well.
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A joy to read. The life of the wonderfully well written character, Olive, continues as she struggles to make sense of her life, her relationship with her first husband and the distance between her and her son amongst other things. Olive is as opinionated and brusque as ever but also shows a surprisingly compassionate side at intervals. I enjoyed the gentle humour that runs through the book. 
I don’t think you need to have read the first book to enjoy this, but I would recommend reading it. Thank you to the author, Elizabeth Strout, Net Galley and the publisher, Viking for an ARC.
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I found this very hard to read.  The way it was written seemed very disjointed as did the storyline.  I was never sure exactly what was happening as it seemed to jump around a bit.  Because of this I did not finish this book.
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What a pleasure it is to be back in Olive’s company. It’s probably not essential to have read the first book, Olive Kitteridge, but I think it enhances this update on her life. We last met her in her 70s and with her husband Henry recently dead. Now in her 80s she is still a prominent figure in her small town of Crosby, Maine, where not much seems to happen but where, as in all small towns, much is going on behind closed doors. In a series of linked and interconnected episodes we see Olive sometimes centre-stage, sometimes on the periphery, but always very much at the heart of the book as she is of the town. Outspoken as ever, and frequently tactless, Olive comes alive on the page and I found her excellent company as always. It’s a pretty grim book overall, with illness, the trials and indignities of aging, loneliness and loss a constant thread but with Olive’s reaction to them all striking a courageous note. Some of the episodes aren’t as successful as others, admittedly, but most, including those concerning a neighbour dying of cancer, and the ones featuring Olive’s troubled relationship with her son, are powerful indeed, and I found myself able to forgive the occasional false note. A compelling and often moving read about an indomitable, contradictory and one-of-a-kind character.
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Olive is back and as grumpy as ever.  But running through these interrelated stories is her humanity. As she moves toward her demise she may still not suffer fools but she does want to listen to those with a life to tell.  An excellent read which in my opinion is even better than this first Olive book.
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Delightful, outstanding, and in a league of it's own!

'Olive, Again' follows the same structure as 'Olive Kitteridge', which was its prequel, both a series of linked vignettes featuring the inhabitants of Crosby, Maine, in which Olive herself features to varying degrees. What a joy it was to spend more time with Olive Kitteridge, as wry and brutally honest as ever! Although many can't abide her brutal honesty and forthrightness, there are a few souls who can look past her gruff exterior and see that essentially she has a kind heart. The grumpy, abrupt maths teacher, is now coming to terms with loss and old age, however, her frosty relationship with her son is thawing, and she has found new love in an unexpected place.

Elizabeth Strout delivered a masterful, unrestrained and exuberant concoction of linked stories about heartache, loneliness, and ageing, never shying away from darker themes such as abuse, toxic families, and the challenges of alcoholism and infidelity. As before, I found her writing terribly  authentic, moving, witty and real.

Brilliantly compelling, 'Olive, Again' was a cracking read and a book that I revelled in all the way through, bringing with it no disappointments. It was a huge pleasure to return to the town of Crosby and spend some more time in Olive's company. I was sad to say goodbye but I will cherish the experience. I would love to read more from this gifted story-teller and I am delighted to recommend this book.

I received a complimentary copy of this novel from Penguin Books UK/Viking via NetGalley at my request and this review is my own unbiased opinion.
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I value Elizabeth Strout very highly as an author, loved her previous books  and was therefore surprised that I did not take to "Olive, again" at all. The book felt grim and harsh and where I previously chuckled at the wonderful nastiness of some of the characters, this was not the case with "Olive, again". So perhaps I am one of the view who feel this way, but voila, that is what it is.
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Loved this book...as good as if not better than the prequel. Brilliant writer and some sad and some witty cameos. Be a great Christmas present
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The irascible Olive Ketteridge is back again in this second book by Elizabeth Strout.  I have to say I enjoyed the first one the most, but this is still worth reading.

Set in Crosby, Maine where Olive lives, we see once again her rudeness and critical stance that is rather a surprise if you haven't encountered her before.  She is, however, aware of her shortcomings.

We meet Jack, widowed and lonely who tries to put right a disagreement with daughter Cassie,  His attitude towards the police, who pull him over when speeding, and his take on life.

This is a keen observation of her life with other lives interwoven in this context. A good read, but not quite up to the first one, I think.

I chose to read this book and all opinions in this review are all my own and completely unbiased.  My thanks to NetGalley for this opportunity.
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Highly poignant and elegant prose reintroducing the reader to Strout’s indefatigable protagonist; Olive Kitteridge. This is a very welcome sequel to Strout’s previous offering, with Olive’s 2008 incarnation as a younger mother and wife but, irrefutably and primarily, herself. Olive’s cantankerous, idiosyncratic, unfiltered voice is a joy to hear and Strout is a master of nuanced characterisation.
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I signed up to Netgalley.com to get my hands on some free reads, which I hoped would get me out of my reading comfort zone, introduce me to some new writers and get me reading books which I might not have spotted on bookstagram. 

I’m guessing many of you will have read Elizabeth Strout’s books. I read My Name is Lucy Barton years ago and loved its gentleness. As such I came to Olive Again with high expectations. That being said I didn’t realise that this was the follow up to Olive Kitteridge (or for that matter that it had been turned into an award winning TV show). The latter fact may or may not have affected my opinion of the novel. 

Death stalks and shapes this narrative but it’s not morbid or sinister. Instead it sets each character’s story into motion or sees them moving into a new direction. 

Strout’s prose is as gentle as I remembered – the characters carefully drawn and true to life – all done in such a succinct matter which carries you along like the boats bobbing along on the Maine sea. I did start to feel a little impatient and keen for the story to move on, though this could purely have been down to my own “reading mood.”

The real charm is to be found in the conversations between the delicately interwoven characters (all of whom Olive had encountered in some form or another). 

And so we come to the issue of the unlikeable narrator. Olive is straight up, brutally honest (actually bordering on rude) and not particularly fond of people. She is a snob, believes she is superior to everyone she meets and has little to no patience or understanding. Not fertile ground for a heroine you might think. 

Throughout the story we encounter characters who might have made for far more likeable and relatable leads, but none are as interesting as Olive. None would provoke the reaction in the reader that she does. Yes at times you struggle to get along with her, as do the characters of the novel, but I couldn’t help but admire her “I don’t give a crap what you think” honesty.

Why do we enjoy an unlikable hero or heroine? 

In Olive’s case it’s because she says things that we wouldn’t dare to. Maybe because these characters make us feel just a little bit better about ourselves, because we aren’t so bad as them. They usually make us laugh, and can sometimes make us cry; ultimately they are relatable (if not too relatable at times). 

An unlikable hero or heroine challenges us and a really well written one will have the reader warming to them or routing for them. This is what I found myself doing with Olive Kitteridge. 

Final Thoughts: A gentle and enjoyable exploration of complex characters in challenging times. Perhaps not the book for me but no doubt others will enjoy it.
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Just as wonderful as the first book! Olive was just as wonderful too. I found it quite strange reading about her becoming older and the changes she went through: my mum is going through similar at the moment. Elizabeth Strout knows how to get inside the people she writes about and the stories are touching, sad, funny; Olive reviews her life through a long lens as her own life reaches its final stages.
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What a joy it was to spend more time with Olive Kitteridge, as wry and brutally honest as ever.

‘Olive, Again’ reunites us with the blunt, yet deeply loveable Oliver Kitteridge as she grows older, more self-aware, and comes to terms with the changes within herself and in those around her. Returning to Crosby, Maine, Strout skilfully weaves separate stories together, with Olive as the thread, exploring the depths of human nature. Each story is built of quiet melancholy and epiphanies in which characters understand something new about themselves. How strange our feelings are. How temperamental they can be. Nonetheless, Crosby is a small coastal town brimming with love and friendship. Whether they bump into her in the doughnut shop or quote something she once said in math class, Oliver Kitteridge has had a positive impact on a myriad of people.

Although Olive is as contentious as ever, she undergoes a steady transformation into a wry elderly woman who is more conscious and accepting. Yes, she’s cantankerous and contradictory, but she cares. She undertakes a journey of self-awareness, even succumbing to the idea of wearing the detestable Depend underwear as she grows into her eighties. It is with this that Strout exhibits her incredible storytelling, eloquently expressing the indignities of old age with quiet acceptance.

Few writers can pack so much emotion into mere sentences, her realistic characters making me both laugh and cry. From the beginning, I felt the pull of the characters and connected to every one of them. It was such a joy to follow their transformations, especially our controversial Olive. The most heart-warming moments were those in which she connected with people who she had previously dismissed, ultimately finding solace in female friendship.

This is an absolute gem of a book that everyone can fall in love with.
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This was a great read.  Loved the characters - not just the main ones but all the quirky individuals that appeared throughout the book.  It was a really nice bit of escapism - I w2ould definitely recommend it.
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Perfection. Cranky, bitingly honest and with a tongue as sharp as a tack Olive doesn't disappoint. A beautiful and funny take on life as a 'pensioner' except of course Olive and her romantic interest don't really see themselves that way. Their dealings with their adult children and grandchildren as well as reflecting over their lives is a funny and precious addition to what we already know about Olive.  Yes there is disappointment and frank reflection but it's all the more authentic for it. Adored it and will be giving it to friends and family for Christmas.
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I did find this book very strange and think I would have understood it more if I had read the first book in the series. It is still a good book but can be hard to follow at times
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Olive Again is badged as the story of the later life of Olive Kitteridge, however a large proportion of the book was taken up with events in the lives of various families in Crosby, Maine, who had a (sometimes slim) connection to Olive. This led to a slightly disjointed tale, which was disappointing. It was also rather pedantically written in places - I lost track of the number of times ‘her first husband Henry’ was mentioned, as if the reader was also ageing and losing their short term memory.

Olive’s story, when it came, was actually quite interesting - her relationships with second husband Jack, her son and his family, and her friends were well developed and would have made a good book on their own, with more direct interaction with other characters. Overall, a shame as it could have been really enjoyable.
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This sequel does not disappoint. The character of Olive, our mainstay and thread throughout this collection of stories is a vivid and as constant as in Strout’s previous collection.
Yet Olive isn’t static , she is an evolving character faces lives later challenges and provoking humour, outrage and empathy in her wake.
The skill of a writer who can maintain such consistency whilst weaving together so many threads from other novels and stories can only be admired .
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