Cover Image: Olive

Olive

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

I ended up DNFing this book after attempting it a couple of times.

I actually really liked Emma Gannon's authorial voice, but I couldn't stand Olive and I had to stop. I had really high hopes for this book, because like Olive I am a child free millenial and I was hoping I could relate to her, but she just seemed really bitter and immature. I found her to be frustrating and quite a poor friend, although her friends were also pretty annoying at times.

I will say that I really liked the two timelines, and seeing Olive and her friends younger, but that was about it. I really wanted to love this and I think that might be part of the reason I am disappointed.

Thank you for the gifted arc, and I am sorry that I DNF'd it.
Was this review helpful?
I received a pre-print version of Olive to read & it has honestly taken me months & a lot of willpower to finish it. Weird thing is, now that I have, I’m happy I did. 

Olive is admittedly a self-involved early 30’s protagonist. But being at the same stage as her socially, made me relate to her in ways other readers may have struggled to.

Her “Sex and the City” friendship circle is far more relatable than anything I’ve read before. Four women at different stages of their adult journey navigating career, identity, fertility, fidelity and so much more. The fact is, we SHOULD all be our own main characters & it’s hilarious (but not surprising) that Olive’s decision to do just that not only riled up her fictional friends, but appears to divide Emma Gannon’s literary audience also.

I liked this; it’s a little slow and tedious, with very little dialogue and more so, a play-by-play of Olive’s internal monologue through about a decade of adulthood. Decent first stab at fiction for Emma, whom I’m a huge fan of otherwise.
Was this review helpful?
Really enjoyed this book, loved the main character and I thought it was really well written. 

Thank you NetGalley for my complimentary copy in return for my honest review.
Was this review helpful?
This is such a refreshing read!  OlIve is in her 30s, successful and loving life but whilst her friends all start to hear their biological clocks Olive is adamant that she does not want children.  This leads to the end of her relationship and tests her friendships.

I really enjoyed this book and the statement it made about it being OK to not want children.  It's such an important discussion and Emma Gannon has managed to present it in a very thought provoking novel.
Was this review helpful?
Falling in love with a book from the prologue is a one in a hundred books moment for me. It’s a tough task but it’s one that Emma Gannon did with ease. It felt like she had reached into my brain. Navigating the intense narrative of women, their fertility and the impact it has on friendships is hard but it is done with gentleness and some scary accuracy! Why do we, as women, have it engrained from an early age that we should procreate and that it will be our life purpose? Sure I can imagine it’s one of the most special moments of any parents lives but that doesn’t mean it’s for everyone. One thing I’ve learnt over the last few years as my friends and colleagues progress through their pregnancies is that it truly is a miracle. We learn through our years that we can get pregnant and there will be a healthy baby at the end of it. We were not taught that 1 in 4 may result in a miscarriage, 1 in 13 will be premature or that 1 in 250 will be a stillborn - women are nothing but warriors. Olive is the first book I’ve seen cover pregnancy, post natal depression, not wanting children, infertility and maternal death. Quite frankly, I couldn’t put it down. It was an incredible read and probably even more impactful as my 30th birthday is merely days away now.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to the publisher for my eARC copy of this book. Unfortunately I didn’t love this book and therefore didn’t finish, I just didn’t connect with this one. Not for me, sorry.
Was this review helpful?
As a fellow CFBC (child-free by choice) the same age as the titular Olive I was drawn by the idea of a narrator negotiating life as a young woman who doesn't want children. The story is told by Olive, a society and culture editor at magazine .Dot. She had recently split with her long-term partner over the issue of children. He wants and she doesn't. And she is the only one in her friend group who isn't pregnant (Cecily), trying to get pregnant (Isla) or raising several kids (Bea). She feels isolated and left out by their common goals and is floundering in a society that often doesn't see being child-free as a valid choice for women.

The was a lot of potential but I had immediate issues with Gannon's style which has confessional, Carrie-from-Sex-and-the-City vibe that I didn't enjoy. While I appreciated that Gannon was attempting to cover a wide range of experience with her characters, there wasn't much individuality in their voices and without the details of their different lives, I wouldn't have been able to tell them apart. They were archetypes of the other lives Olive could have had rather than characters with a life of their own. Their inability to empathize with each other or value each others decisions and choices was infuriating. Maybe Gannon was trying to illustrate the Mumsnet-style judgement and competitiveness that parenthood can bring out but it felt like they were teenagers rather than women in their 30s. And I should mention that these are very privileged women with impressive careers, nice homes and (despite Olive's brief mention of paying double rent after her break-up) no financial worries.

I was hoping that Olive would finally give us a well-adjusted, child-free protagonist but a lot of her thoughts and actions really just reinforce the old stereotype of selfish, childish and self-obsessed, scornful and judgemental of those with children and bitter that their friends no longer pay them enough attention. There was some growth by the end but the way it comes about seemed like a betrayal of what the book claims to be.
Was this review helpful?
I was surprised how much I enjoyed this - it was so readable with short chapters and relatable content, whilst tackling some big subjects surrounding pregnancy/autonomy. One I’d rec to all my friends for an easygoing and pageturning read!
Was this review helpful?
A thought provoking story about friendship, motherhood and growing up, I adored this book and felt it was the perfect read for anyone feeling like they are at a different point in their lives from their friends. A must read.
Was this review helpful?
I have been there. I have been on the receiving end of the "Oh, you'll change your mind one day." conversation. Well I'm 38 and I have been feeling this way since I was about 6 and rejected playing with dolls for reading books. It's not that I don't like children. I am a boss aunty. I just don't want one of my own. And it is this subject that is the topic of Emma Gannon's debut novel Olive.

Olive and her three best friends do everything together however their friendship is challenged when their lives careen off in different ways. When the issues of motherhood come up it further drives a wedge in the friendship as both sides fail to fully understand how the other side is feeling. 

What is genuinely lovely about this book - besides feeling like I have found my tribe in book form - is that these characters fight so hard for each other. Their lives are not the same as when they were young, foot loose and fancy free but their love for each other is something that they refuse to give up on. 

I loved this book and at the moment Olive is my hero.

Olive by Emma Gannon is available now.

For more information regarding Emma Gannon (@emmagannon) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Harper Collins (@harpercollinsuk) please visit their Twitter page.
Was this review helpful?
** ARC provided by Netgalley via the publisher in exchange for an honest review. ***

Having read Olive, I think I am the target audience. I'm the same age as Olive and am also choosing not to have children. However, Olive doesn't necessary come across as the most empathetic individual and so I found her hard to identify with. Good holiday read!
Was this review helpful?
Thank you NetGalley and HarperCollins this was a wonderful book 
I moved from my usual crime & thrillers as I needed a change and am so glad I did
This was a great read. Olive is such a nice character to care about . The issues she deals with are so common to people but very rarely dealt with and done in a sensitive way.  I hope Olive comes back again and we get another book.
Was this review helpful?
I loved this book - Olive and her girlfriends are such relatable characters, you can't help but be immersed in their story. I'll definitely be looking for more work from this author
Was this review helpful?
I loved this book! It was a refreshing look at what it means to want children and motherhood in all its different ways. I loved Olive as a character, and her friendships. It was a realistic portrayal of growing up, and growing apart in your friendships but ultimately still being there when it really matters. I feel like this book will bring comfort to a lot of women.
Was this review helpful?
(3.5⭐️) I loved this. A strong female protagonist talking about women’s issues truthfully. Olive and her 3 best friends were like peas in pods but as they grew older all wanted different things in life. I really enjoyed the different perspectives on motherhood and fertility that the 4 characters highlighted. Making the choice to have children isn’t black and white and you should never feel pressured into doing so. I did find it slightly repetitive hence the rating - and I felt her friends were really mean at times. But overall I enjoyed and would recommend to women in their 20s! Thank you to NetGalley and Harper Collins for allowing me an early arc!
Was this review helpful?
With thanks to Net Galley for my advance copy

I read this novel in a couple of days. It’s a page turner, perfect for a day at the beach. But at the same time I was disappointed - especially given all the glowing quotes at the beginning of the book. The topic of choosing not to have children is one I haven’t seen covered in popular fiction before but Olive, our heroine, is rather unsympathetic, constantly making bafflingly poor decisions and isn’t easy to empathise with.

Olive and her best friends are in their early thirties and their lives are beginning to differ - one has three children, one is a new mum and another is desperately trying to conceive through IVF. Olive herself has just ended a long term relationship because she doesn’t want children and her ex did.
These friends fall out with each other a lot, and unfortunately seem to be a cypher for different parts of the female experience rather than believable characters. At times the dialogue offers too much exposition and not enough character development. There are some odd descriptions and narrative choices - a widowed father describes a new relationship as ‘the best few months of his life’ - better than proposing, marrying and having his children? - and there are loose ends left unresolved (e.g. the badge).

The quotes about childlessness interspersed between the chapters show how much society is biased against women who choose not to have children and made me wonder if this book would have worked better as a collection of real women’s experiences.
Yet despite all this I found the ending quite moving - I was left feeling that the novel’s original concept was a missed opportunity for better character development and editing.
Was this review helpful?
This book is about the main character and her long standing friendships which are now showing some strain. Each of her friends is on a different path and I am sure every reader will see parts of themselves in parts of every character. (continued) https://fashionandfrappes.com/raves-rants-and-reviews-july-2020-dolly-alderton/
Was this review helpful?
This was a cute story and I believe a lot of readers will rleate to the main character. I loved the message it sent and I'd definitely recommend it to anyone who wants a light, fun read with a positive message. Uplifting. Thank you for my ARC.
Was this review helpful?
It was truly refreshing to read this book. Sometimes it felt a little heavy handed on the "it's OK to jot want children" agenda, but as the book progressed I realised a lot of that was the behaviour of the protagonist learning to not justify her choices.

I say refreshing because this book demonstrated the weird and wonderful ways old friends can grow apart and have to learn to love each other and respect each others choices. I have old friends, friends I am so, so lucky to have grown into adulthood with and who know me in ways that feel solely reserved for them. And I have talked with them so many times about how it is weirdly hard sometimes to let go of my expectations of what our lives would be now, of the expectations I think they have of me.

We bang on a lot about how important friendships are. They are work though. Seriously, my longest friendship is going on 25 years now. We are not who we were five years ago, let alone the dreams we shared as children. This book details the growing pains that comes with, the work that goes into the friendships you want to maintain.

It also strongly focuses on the choices women have in the UK, in 2021, regarding children. I am lucky. I have more genuine choices than many women across the world now, let alone my ancestors. This array of choices is still, socially speaking, so new. It is hard to not feel defensive, no matter your choice. I didn't love all the ways that played out in this book, but I did love the discussion, the insecurity on show, the point being made that we all need different things to gain fulfillment or deem ourselves successful.
Was this review helpful?
And here I am again, in the minority. 

I really didn't like this book.  I felt that it was badly written.   Very badly written.  The kind of book that you would expect from a 19 year old who is trying to write as though they are in their late 30's. 
I didn't feel as though any of the characters had anything about them and the way that the title character treated her "friends" was just vile. 

I am amazed that I finished it. 

Zero stars rounded up to one because I have to.
Was this review helpful?