Cherie Vivian, March 15, 2013 (view all comments by Cherie Vivian)
White Oleander. A brilliant,lyrical masterpiece by Janet Fitch. It was her first novel and to date, her best. Fitch's words are like poetry, piano music, a visual sonata with a jazzy underbelly. The opening setting of the "Santa Ana winds blowing in hot from the desert" stirs just the right amount of provocative foreshadowing and poison. The main characters are vivid and haunting: an artistic mother with borderline personality disorder who decides the remedy for her cheating lover is his lethal consumption of oleander; a young daughter coming-of-age whose life is forever altered by her mother's narcissism. Fitch explores the California foster system and delves into the demons of each of her characters, major and minor, with raw passion. Fitch is a consummate storyteller. It is a story that touches the soul. Much overlooked, one of those great American novels which whispers its subtle genius.
Kelly A, April 15, 2010 (view all comments by Kelly A)
The characters in this book are real and deliciously contradictory, embodying Walt Whitman's statement that he can contain multitudes. No one is all bad or all good and the "victim's" story does not stop there or end predictably with vindication.
The portrait of Los Angeles is fascinating enough to make the city itself one of the characters.
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bthompson12603, June 10, 2008 (view all comments by bthompson12603)
I am a fan of Oprah's Book Club books, but this one didn't always keep my attention. Not one of my favorites but it was ok. It was a bit slow for my taste, I had to re-read a few parts because I would drift off and be thinking about other things while reading. But the good parts are good...I just wish it was all that good.
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Krystal, August 20, 2006 (view all comments by Krystal)
Astrid is a young girl when her mother goes to jail, so she ends up in foster care. The influence of her complicated relationship with her mother is present in every home she goes to. She is forced to deal with growing up without a mother in an ever changing and usually hostile world.
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White Oleander (Oprah's Book Club)
Used Trade Paper
0 stars -
Back Bay Books -
by Los Angeles Times Book Review,
"A ferocious, risk-loving novel."
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.
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