#BookReview: Olive Again

by Elizabeth Strout

About the book:

Olive struggles to understand not only herself and her own life but the lives of those around her in the town of Crosby, Maine. Whether with a teenager coming to terms with the loss of her father, a young woman about to give birth during a hilariously inopportune moment, a nurse who confesses a secret high school crush, or a lawyer who struggles with an inheritance she does not want to accept, the unforgettable Olive will continue to startle us, to move us, and to inspire moments of transcendent grace.

My Review:

Thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Books (UK) for this ARC of Olive Again.

This is a collection of short stories based around an old lady known as Olive Kitterage, some more loosely connected than others. I haven’t read the first volume, Olive Kitterage, and I don’t feel this is a pre-requisite for reading this second volume as the two stand alone well.

The first 25% of the book seemed to jump around at random and cover unrelated characters. Only after the first quarter did it start to gel more for me. Most of the stories after that had an obvious link to Olive, but a couple still felt tenuous at best.

Some of the narrative suffers from head hopping, and at times, I had to go back and read a section again to try and grasp which character’s POV we had jumped into.

A few of the stories seemed disconnected and more like vignette slice-of-life type tales with no real beginning, middle, or end.

Some of my favourites were: Heart–well rounded and shows personal growth for Olive.

The End of the Civil Ward Days–all about reconciliation.

The Poet–Soul searching for old-aged Olive.

All in all, a poignant collection of tales ideal for those times when you don’t have a lot of leisure to sit and read a novel. Easy reading and some of the stories will touch your heart.

Olive Again gets a firm 3 stars from me.


NOTE ON RATINGS:  I consider a 3-star rating a positive review. Picky about which books I give 5 stars to, I reserve this highest rating for the stories I find stunning and which moved me.


4 STARS: I WOULD PULL AN ALL-NIGHTER — Go read this book.

3 STARS: IT WAS GOOD! — An okay read.  Didn’t love it. Didn’t hate it. 

2 STARS: I MAY HAVE LIKED A FEW THINGS —Lacking in some areas: writing, characterisation, and/or problematic plot lines.

1 STAR: NOT MY CUP OF TEA —Lots of issues with this book.

4 Comments on “#BookReview: Olive Again

  1. Thanks for the review, Harmony. I find myself enjoying short stories more often now.

    • I like shorts for dipping into when I don’t have much time. I still love getting lost in a huge book as well. Thanks, Denise 🙂

  2. This sounds like an interesting collection, Harmony. I think in most books with short stories there are always those that shine brighter than others and a few that don’t resonate as well. Good review!

    • Thanks, Mae. Glad you liked it. I nearly gave 4 stars, but it just wasn’t quite there.