Olive Kitteridge vs Olive Kitteridge plus Olive, Again – TV and Book Review

Olive Kitteridge

Any time I see that Frances McDormand is in something, I want to check it out. So with no prior knowledge of the production, I watched the short series Oliver Kitteridge and it was fascinating. Not exactly linear, yet mostly so. No overall story arch, but more like a series of shorts. Olive (Frances McDormand) is pretty unpleasant but yet the audience is on her side. We want her to succeed despite the way she treats people – she’s direct but to the point of being offensive. She’s the type of person that I’d hate to have in my life, yet if she was and I made her happy for me or proud of me, it would be a huge feat. The series is charming but not lightweight. And made me desperate to read the book.

Olive Ketteridge plus Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout

The book is wonderful. Each chapter is its own story, sometimes with Olive as the main focus and othertimes with her presence more in the background. Like the show, she is unlikeable yet very lovable. The way she treats those she loves so harshly and sometimes seems to have far more generosity for those she’s not close to. A second book, Olive, Again, came out last year and I was a little hesitant, worried that it might not live up to the wonder that the first book inspired in me. But I shouldn’t have worried. It was delightful.