S4L Book Club – Olive Kittridge

What do you think of Olive? Do you like her? Do you know anyone like her or see any part of yourself in her? Do you believe the transformation she seems to undergo is realistic?

I do like Olive. I think the harshness, directness, and honesty that might rub many the wrong way is something I actually appreciate. In some of those ways, I think I’m like her. I pictured her as my Aunt Evie, and I imagine that’s because I think they are a little alike. I wonder if anyone thinks I’m like Aunt Evie. I can’t say I actually knew her all that well.

I have a little trouble believing Olive’s response to Christopher when things fall apart during her visit in NY. I’m not sure I believe she would deny her own shortcomings the way she does, that they would make her so irrational and fearful and embarrassed. But, then, I know people don’t always make sense. We can be strangely inconsistent.

One of the things I liked best about Olive was her response to Suzanne, Christopher’s first wife. At the wedding, after Suzanne ridicules Olive behind her back, Olive steals one shoe, a bra, and marks a sweater with ink. This is mean and juvenile and absolutely hilarious! She knows it’s beneath her, and she doesn’t care. Oh, yeah, I can relate! I’m not sure I’d have the nerve to do it, but I know I’ve wanted to. It’s mostly harmless, and, let’s be honest, Suzanne deserves it after her cruel comments.

I can completely believe Olive’s transformation, but I think it’s a little slow in coming. I would expect her to appreciate the loyalty of Henry sooner than she does, for instance. I think some of the insights she gains come earlier in real life, but, again, people are all different. Some, I suppose, never gain these insights at all. So, yes, I think it’s believable.

What do you think?

Categories: Reading