My first novel by this author. Very entertaining! Olive Kitteridge, a widow, is a retired school teacher in the seaside town of Crosby, Maine. The book starts out with Olive, a grandmother by now, going to a baby shower for her friend’s daughter. I do find it hard to believe that Olive has never been to a baby shower before, or have any idea of what happens at one. Events conspire to get her out of an embarrassing situation. We’ll leave it at that.
Olive seems to be entirely lacking in social skills. Maybe living in small town America has something to do with it. Her son Christopher lives in New York City with his wife, her two children and Olive’s grandson, their first child. Olive longs to be close to her family but doesn’t seem to have the skills to make this happen. She has not met her grandson, but she has met a man, the widower Jack Kennison who retired to Crosby with his recently deceased wife Betsy some years ago. Jack taught history at Harvard but he loves Olive’s lack of social skills. Olive says exactly what she thinks. Jack suggests to Olive that the reason she has not met her grandson is that she has not asked her son and family to visit. She replies that they don’t need an invitation, but when the two decide to marry, she does invite them, now with a second baby for the weekend. She plans to tell them just before they leave, and have Jack come over to meet them. The best laid plans can go awry when dealing with the dysfunctional! As the story proceeds, Olive’s honesty about her feelings is remarkable and illustrative of a journey we all may take, if we live long enough.
Really enjoyed this book, and will definitely read more of Ms. Strout’s work