I am finding this book touches me very deeply and makes me sad. I am 62 and have difficulty with my relationship with my son and daughter-in-law because they live far away. I have a great relationship with my daughters. Thinking about loss and aging is very gut level for me. I think this book is really well written. All the characters are well developed.
I am 44 and the mother of three children, the oldest of which is 20 years old. Reading this book also makes me sad, but for me it's because it's making me realize that my children may choose to "opt out" of living close to me if their spouses want them to live elsewhere and I have no control over this. I've always pictured a big extended family living close together and loving spending time and holidays...but I'm not sure why, because I don't even have that with my immediate family all that much. We are all very separate and only gather a few times a year, if that. I find each chapter to be almost like it's own short story -- unfinished, of course.
I think you're right! It touches your emotions and sounds so personal. The more you read, the more you feel missing them.
So, please spend your time in an open sky so that you may not feel sad.
I also found this to be a very sad book. I tried to find the positive side to some of the stories, but still found them, at their core, to be so sad. Perhaps that is the lesson...to live our own lives better than Olive lived hers.
I think it does make you think about living each day to the fullest and being grateful for all that we have. You make your life out of what you have, not what you don't have. I think that's the secret--not focusing on what we wish we had and ending up ignoring all the wonderful things that we do have.
I definitely agree that there were some sad moments - but I didn't finish feeling sad at all - well, except for losing Henry - he was so great! lol Ths book spoke to me in much the same way as Mitch Albom's The Five People You Meet in Heaven did. It said that we touch the lives of those around us whether we try to or not, whether we believe we do or not. Olive Kitteridge was who she was - and gloried in being herself without shame or remorse. But regardless of her faults and flaws, she inadvertantly touched the lives of those around her - and she left an imprint. Sometimes as a grouchy old curmudgeon, sometimes as a feared (and even revered) teacher, sometimes as a woman who wasn't afraid to cry when a sick girl touched her heart. I was hesitant when I started the book, but was very bummed when it was over.
great review! I too loved Olive with flaws and all.
I think it is sad but that the sadness comes from the honesty. As people get older, of course, we encounter more and more loss--of vitality, of friends, of family. We are recompensed, we like to think, with wisdom and some poise and humility from the loss, but I think there can also be such a thing as a good sadness, too. I think Olive asking the health-care worker to hold the phone next to Henry's ear so that she can talk to him when she travels to visit their son is sad in a good, human way. It shows that she is appreciative of their years together even though a lot of what she says earlier calls this into question. Many people read to escape this kind of truth and sadness, but this book is too honest about life to be escapist in that shallower way.
At first I wondered why the author was introducing so many characters but then it became clear that each short story revealed another layer of Olive while revealing one unique character study after another. We did this for our book club and I had so many pages tagged because of the skillful description. It was a bit like peering into the window of one home after another in the small town. I really enjoyed it and felt a sense of loss at the end because I wanted it to go on. The ending was satisfying and right.
These characters are so much like members of my family, especially Olive and Henry, that it was comforting to read of someone else who related to these loving but real characters.