Olive Again @LizStrout @randomhouse #humannature #friendship #love #secondchances #duoreviews #fictionfriends @JanBelisle @absltmom

So Olive is back but will she have the same wow factor that Ms Strout created for us in her first Olive book? That was the question both Jan and I had to find the answer to. Although we saw different things in the story, we nevertheless enjoyed out time spent with Olive once again.

Olive, Again (Olive Kitteridge, #2)

Jan’s review

For those who loved Olive Kitteridge, as I did, have no fear. Olive is still Olive. And for those who have loved Strout’s previous books, a few characters make an appearance in this one. Olive is still the crusty, prickly, and judgmental woman who says what she thinks. But, she’s mellowing. Perhaps it’s the indignities of aging, or the fact that at her age the losses mount up quickly, but Olive takes a long hard look at herself and doesn’t always like what she sees. As she deals with the harsh realities of getting older, she must also face some harsh truths about herself. There’s a particularly poignant moment when Olive realizes that how others see her is far different than she sees herself. Her eyes are opened that she has reaped what she has sown. Which should give satisfaction, but instead it made me even more empathetic, because the source of Olive’s dysfunction is damage done in childhood. She doesn’t want to be the way she is.  It’s complicated, this life of ours.

List of Synonyms and Antonyms of the Word: Ornery

We see her struggling to be a better person, sometimes successfully, sometimes not so much.  But as we saw in the first book, Olive has a soft center and can be incredibly understanding and kind as she reaches out to others who are hurting. Then the next moment she’s judgmental and ugly. Perhaps she is more like most of us than we care to admit, a combination of great characteristics with some not-so-nice ones. Olive simply says some things out loud that most of us might only think, as when she declares the art at a local art fair to be “crap”.

I loved that this book caused me to think and reflect. I could only read two stories at a time before stopping to absorb and discuss what I’d just read. If you aren’t in the mood to read about illness, death, and the indignities of aging, then you might want to set this aside for later. Having just lost my mother a few months ago, there were parts that were painfully true to life.  I appreciate that Strout doesn’t sugarcoat the reality. 


Strout writes beautifully and with enormous empathy for the human condition, and is one of the few authors who writes about ordinary lives in an extraordinary way. But, as in any collection, some of the stories  resonated while others, not so much. I confess that several had me scratching my head for days. I simply couldn’t figure out why they were included or what purpose they served to the overall story. Except perhaps this: people are complicated and we are all struggling with the reality of being flawed humans in a flawed world.

Highly recommended, this would make an excellent choice for book clubs. I’m glad I had Marialyce as my to discuss this with as we read. This was going to be a solid 4 stars for the reasons I mentioned above, but days later I am still thinking about this book, so for that, it got bumped up to 5 stars.

Marialyce’s review

This book is going to go into a new file I am calling, “I wish I had liked it more.” While it certainly had its many pluses as the irascible Olive was back in rare form, it also had a number of puzzling occurrences and a chapter that had me scratching my head wondering why.

Life is the most difficult exam, Many people fail because ...
Product Life Cycle - Maturity Stage

Olive is getting older or as we who are in the same boat like to say, becoming more mature. She still goes about, saying “Oliveisms” and ticking off a few people, including family, but she has developed a new inner perspective. It’s like Olive looked into a mirror that was able to see inside herself and she wasn’t all that thrilled with the reflection. She has a new love in her life, Jack, who recognizes her for the snob she is, but still loves her. Her relationship with her son is always on the fritz as they all walk a very tight line between I can tolerate you and I can’t stay in your company another minute.

Chuck's Fun Page 2: Maxine cartoons

But as mentioned, Olive is maturing, and starts down a road that she should have traveled a long time ago, but hey, better late than never. Perhaps it is never too late to salvage relationships.

All in all, this was a good story, although even after a number of days thinking about it I am still a bit perplexed. However, as Olive discovers, and we do as well, there are always gray areas and Olive and her author have explored the grayness and we are left to puzzle out the rest.

4 stars for me and yes, I was a tad disappointed, but I am working on my gray areas.

Thank you to Elizabeth Strout, Random House, and NetGalley for a copy of this book due to be published on October 15,2019

and here’s the author


12 thoughts on “Olive Again @LizStrout @randomhouse #humannature #friendship #love #secondchances #duoreviews #fictionfriends @JanBelisle @absltmom

  1. Excellent reviews, Jan and Maryalice. ❤ I have not heard of this author before. But judging from your reviews, both of you enjoyed reading this book despite it dealing with heavy topics. I might give it a try. Thanks for the recommendation.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Great reviews. Its interesting that you both mention that some aspects of the book had you scratching your heads. Sounds like a heavy read but going by your reviews, it seems the portrayal was realistic and tackled well.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great reviews as usual❤ I recently lost my father, so the topic of death and aging is close to my heart. Sounds like Olive really made you reflect on how our priorities change as we mature.


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