Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
(Random House, 2008, 286 pages)
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Olive Kitteridge is a novel made up of a collection of stories that take place in a small town in Maine. Each story can stand on its own but many of the characters are recurring, especially Olive, who shows up in most of the stories and is a main character in a few. A strong personality, Olive is a retired school teacher in this small town and often plays an important role in the lives of many of the characters. The stories are often sad but also somehow uplifting. Olive is often bossy, mean, and argumentative but you end up loving her because she almost always comes from a good and honest place even if she has trouble expressing herself in a kind way. I loved the book but I know many people would say it is too depressing. I found it beautiful and honest.