Gateway Gazette

From My Bookshelf: Olive Again

By  Lynn Willoughby

Olive Again ~ Elizabeth Strout

Olive is getting old.  She is lonely.  She is not any more likable than when she was married to Henry and teaching high school math.  She has a big personality, is judgmental, acerbic and short tempered.  And I really like her.

This book is a series of stories about the people she interacts with, changes or impacts in some way.

In the small town of Crosby, Maine there are the people with the same personalities, the same idiosyncrasies we meet everywhere. This author is a master at finding meaning in the small, mundane details of everyday life.  

Olive finds a cigarette butt on her porch.  She is filled with dread.  Is she being watched?  Is she being stalked?  Who does she even know who smokes?  As she is bending over to examine the butt she falls and is unable to get up.  Will she die out here?  How long will she lay here before someone notices?  

This strange woman touches everyone who knows her.  And as she struggles to make sense of her life, we realize how alone she is, how afraid of dying, and that she cannot understand this confusing contest between good and evil.  She has had a long life, has a son, been married twice – but she has few friends.  Her thought in her golden years are …”to bear the burden of the mystery with as much grace as we can.”  Not a bad philosophy at all!

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Who Knew?

Male nurses make up only 9.5% of all nurses in Canada.

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