Friday, March 2, 2012

7 x 40 - Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

Published by Random House in 2008, this collection of short stories received the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2009. The book was also a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in 2008.  

Brief Synopsis:
This is a collection of short stories woven together by a common thread: Olive Kitteridge. Sharp-tongued and seemingly hard-nosed Mrs. Kitteridge lives in the coastal area of Crosby, Maine. Through these stories we learn about her life and that of those around her.  

First Line:  
For many years Henry Kitteridge was a pharmacist in the next town over, driving every morning on snowy roads, or rainy roads, or summer-time roads, when the wild raspberries shot their new growth in brambles along the last section of town before he turned off to where the wider road led to the pharmacy."  

The Author:
Elizabeth Strout graduated from Bates College in Lewiston, Maine. She holds a law degree from Syracuse University's College of Law, and a Certificate in Gerontology from the School of Social Work. After working for Legal Services in Syracuse, she moved to New York City and took a position as an adjunct professor in the English department of the Borough of Manhattan Community College.

Ms. Strout saw herself as a writer very early on her life. Her mother gave her a notebook and told her to write everything she saw. At just sixteen years old, she started sending out her stories for publication. Her first piece was published when she was twenty six, and her work has since appeared in literary and commercial magazines.

Her first novel, Amy and Isabelle, was published in 2000, and her second, Abide by Me, in 2007. Both are national bestsellers. Amy and Isabelle was produced as a TV movie by Oprah Winfrey.

Ms. Strout continues to write and live in New York City.  

My Initial Thoughts:
This is actually my second attempt at tackling this book for this challenge. I set it aside the first time because I wasn't in the right frame of mind for the its pace and structure. Since I just finished reading a short story collection that featured adult and mature characters, I thought I'd pick this book up again.

I am intrigued by Ms. Strout's recognition and embrace of the writing way of life. Despite the challenge of finding her way through a career, she continued to write. Having the gumption to send out work, at just sixteen years old, speaks of her confidence in her skills and her realization that she is a writer.

 I look forward to getting to know Mrs. Kitteridge and her world.  

Thompson, Bob. "Fiction Pulitzer Prize Winner Elizabeth Strout Talks Writing, 'Olive Kitteridge'." The Washington Post. August 4, 2009.
"Elizabeth Strout." Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 7 January 2012. Web. 1 March 2012.


Thank you so much for your kind comments.