When I was in high school, I was forced to read Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio.
I hated it.
A series of seemingly unconnected short stories with an interwoven central character that keeps it all together.
I vowed to never read another book like it. And yet, here I am, writing a recent read about a book just like it. A book I selected for a book club.
Elizabeth Strout’s Olive Kitteridge is a critical darling. It won a Pulitzer prize and has been heaped with praise. The mini-series done of it earned multiple award nominations and wins.
I don’t get it.
This book was absolutely terrible in my opinion.
Olive Kitteridge is shown in this series of stories throughout her life. The stories are not chronological. They don’t feature the same characters prominently. Some only mention Olive in passing once and that’s it.
Many of the stories end abruptly, as the book does, with no resolution. You never know what happens to the characters. One chapter in particular ends with a character jumping in the water to try and save another. Their fates are never revealed.
A person with more learning than I would likely say there’s some metaphorical reason for that or we’re supposed to assume something. I like it in black and white. Another few sentences wouldn’t have drastically changed that story.
I would absolutely recommend you avoid this book. Just don’t read it.
I don’t plan on reading anything by Elizabeth Strout ever again. Her writing style was bland and dull. Her characters were flat and undeveloped, save Olive.
It isn’t worth your time to read this book.