|Published 15 October 2019.|
Not all of the chapters focus on Olive, but we do learn more about her and her interactions with her love interest, Jack Kennison; her son, Christopher and his family; a couple of former students, including a famous poet; and a few of her age mates.
True to her character, Olive is cranky, cynical, and outspoken. She also displays compassion for people in her odd little way.
Her adventures move her and her associates into late life with many of its challenges:
loneliness, the oddities of remarriage in late life, the complexities of decades' long marriages, the conflict between expectations and realities, estranged adult children, dealing with hardships such as depression, illness, infidelities, and such.
As with Olive Kitteridge, some of the chapters focus on other residents of Crosby, Maine--some of whom are much younger than Olive. There are a significant number of characters in their teens, 20s and 30s. We get glimpse into the lives of an adolescent house cleaners, and young adults who are home health care nurses, and a very pregnant woman attending a baby shower.
Some of the most salient moments from this novel include the many times that people end up offering each other comfort and kindness even though they don't have a lot in common or they only have a tenuous connection.
“The way people can love those they barely know, and how abiding that love can be, even when — as in her own case — it was temporary."
Almost everyone is carrying a heavy burden, and most people feel alone and overwhelmed. Nevertheless, there are moments of hope and grace that emerge from the pages of the book.
As a gerontologist, I was happy to see many of the characters as people in their 60s, 70s and 80s--people who were still capable of growth and development.
Olive Kittridge: Book Review
Books about Aging