#bookreview Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout

Thanks so much to Alexia Thomaidis from Vikings Books for sending me a copy of the new paperback Olive,Again by Elizabeth Strout.


Olive, Again follows the blunt, contradictory yet deeply loveable Olive Kitteridge as she grows older, navigating the second half of her life as she comes to terms with the changes – sometimes welcome, sometimes not – in her own existence and in those around her.

Olive adjusts to her new life with her second husband, challenges her estranged son and his family to accept him, experiences loss and loneliness, witnesses the triumphs and heartbreaks of her friends and neighbours in the small coastal town of Crosby, Maine – and, finally, opens herself to new lessons about life.


Olive, Again is the second book by Elizabeth Strout which follows the prickly, ruthlessly honest and to the point Olive Kitteridge as we re-visit her in her home town Crosby, Maine and now find her married to her second husband Jack.

This is almost like a collection of very short stories, spanning a number of years, which either feature Olive as the main character, or are about someone she knows or lives in the same town. Sometimes Olive makes a small appearance sometimes not. But they are all written with the most brilliantly observed look at peoples thoughts, lives and emotions.

What I liked about this book is the inclusion of older people. Strout really gets under the skin of this older generation and their stories are both raw, sad, enlightening and humorous. They are written with real compassion and honesty which makes them all very real stories yet set very much in a normal days existence. Other characters featured in the book are from all ages and the author does a marvellous job at portraying both the young, middle aged and old.

I enjoyed the chapters which featured Olive. She is so abrupt and to the point, at times appearing rude, but at the same time I couldn’t help but smile at her. She is surprisingly good however, at understanding peoples feelings (though not so much her family) and her direct manner can sometimes actually be a comfort to those she is talking to. I found the chapter about Suzanne very moving and indeed a lot of the stories of the characters lives do seem very sad and traumatic, but maybe as they are about different individuals, it leaves you with short sharp hits of sadness plus Olive’s comic ways lighten the mood throughout. Each of the stories are very quick to get into, all have a different topic but at the same time a connection to Olive and the town where she lives. I did feel however that nearly everyone mentioned has affairs….really?? Do we need so many??

This book is a unique and tender look at relationships, getting on and getting older, making mistakes and how to live with them. A thoughtful read.

Book 1 & 2 Bot can be read as stand alone novels

I received a copy of the book from the publisher to read and review. I am also an affiliated member of bookshop.

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