I have finished the 93rd book for the book challenge. It was Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout.
This is a story about relationships. The commonality of all the relationships in the story is Olive Kitteridge. Olive is an older woman, married to Henry Kitteridge, a pharmacist in Crosby, Maine. She was a seventh grade mathematics teacher in the school in Crosby, which meant that she has a connection to most of the people in the town.
The book begins with a story about Henry and his cashier in his pharmacy. Olive takes a dim view of the young woman, but Henry is quite taken with her. But tragedy soon strikes the young woman when her husband is killed in an hunting accident. Henry keeps her on at the pharmacy and gets involved with her life, much to Olive’s dismay. The young woman eventually marries again and moves away. And Henry’s pharmacy is bought out by a large chain pharmacy and Henry retires.
Olive and Henry build a house for their son Christopher, a podiatrist. He marries a woman that Olive is not fond of. Henry tries to make the best of it. Olive criticizes. Within six months of their marriage, the new wife convinces Christopher to move to California. Olive is extremely upset. Henry is upset too but not to the extent that Olive is.
The book goes on to describe various interactions that Olive and Henry have with their neighbors. Olive is a very critical person. She is very opinionated. Henry is more easy-going. There is one scene where Olive and Henry are in the Emergency Room of the town hospital and two young men come into the hospital looking for drugs and take them hostage, along with nurses and doctors. It is very traumatic for both Olive and Henry.
Then Henry has a stroke. He is left blind and is confined to a nursing home. To her credit, Olive visits him daily. She talks to him in the hopes that he can understand what she is saying. He doesn’t speak. Christopher comes to visit one time. He can’t handle seeing his father like this.
Then Christopher remarries and moves to New York City. Olive goes to visit him in Brooklyn. She has never been to New York City before. Christopher has two step-children and his new wife is pregnant with their first child. Olive finds the visit difficult.
Eventually, Henry passes away from complications of the stroke. Olive finds herself alone. She does volunteer work and walks. She strikes up a friendship with a gentleman she meets on the walking trail. It is the beginning of a budding romance.
This was an interesting book. It wasn’t exciting. But it was all about the relationships that this woman Olive forged over the years in her little town. It is about her prejudices and her fears, her arrogance and her kindnesses. I enjoyed the book.