Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Books I've Loved: White Oleander

This is a gorgeous book.  The writing is so beautiful, it's easy to get lost and drown in the sentences.  But unlike so many other really beautifully written stories that get so wrapped up in the beauty of the language they forget to tell a story, this one also has a plot and compelling characters.

Astrid is a relatable MC.  She adores her mother, Ingrid,  in a way that's almost obsessive despite her mother's seeming lack of interest in anything other than herself and her needs and desires.  When a relationship sours and Ingrid winds up behind bars for murder, Astrid finds herself in the foster care system.

Every new home is different and has its own challenges.  Astrid has to figure out ways to cope with each one, who to be to survive each new family.  The person she grows up to be takes pieces of each of theses selves to patch together a whole and entirely independent person.

If you don't believe me, here's the blurb…

Everywhere hailed as a novel of rare beauty and power, White Oleander tells the unforgettable story of Ingrid, a brilliant poet imprisoned for murder, and her daughter, Astrid, whose odyssey through a series of Los Angeles foster homes-each its own universe, with its own laws, its own dangers, its own hard lessons to be learned-becomes a redeeming and surprising journey of self-discovery.


  1. White Oleander is one of my all time favorite novels and I also enjoyed the movie. You've done an excellent job describing Astrid's obsession for her mother's love and approval. It reminds us that even the most neglected and abused children yearn for their mother. Astrid wasn't abused in the conventional way, but her selfish mom caused her so much pain. I loved this story. I normally don't care for books with overly descriptive prose. I'm a more to the point kind of girl, but like you said, the writing doesn't take away from this story. the beautiful prose enhances the characters, conflict and plot.

  2. i've heard so many wonderful things about this - and your words and the blurb make me want to read it more! nice!