Olive Kitteridge: A Novel and a Miniseries

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Olive Kitteridge: A Novel and a Miniseries
Olive Kitteridge: A Novel and a Miniseries

Diksia.com - is a novel by American author , published in 2008. It consists of 13 interrelated but non-chronological stories that revolve around the life of Olive Kitteridge, a retired schoolteacher who lives in the fictional coastal town of Crosby, Maine.

The novel explores themes such as loneliness, depression, marriage, family, aging, and death through the perspectives of Olive and various characters who encounter her. The novel won the 2009 for and was a finalist for the 2008 National Book Critics Circle Award.

In 2014, adapted the novel into a four-part , starring as Olive, Richard Jenkins as her husband Henry, and as her friend Jack. The miniseries was directed by Lisa Cholodenko and written by Jane Anderson.

It received critical acclaim and won eight awards at the 2015 Primetime Emmys, including Outstanding Limited Series. A sequel to the novel, titled Olive, Again, was published in 2019.

The Novel

The novel is divided into 13 stories, each focusing on a different aspect of Olive's life or the lives of those around her. The stories are:

  • Pharmacy: Henry Kitteridge, Olive's husband and the town's pharmacist, develops a crush on his young employee, Denise Thibodeau, who loses her husband in a hunting accident. Henry also befriends Jerry McCarthy, a delivery boy who later marries Denise and moves to Texas.
  • The Piano Player: Angie O'Meara, a piano player at a local bar, struggles with alcoholism and a broken heart. She sees her ex-boyfriend Simon in the audience and breaks up with her married lover, Malcolm. She also learns that her mother, a prostitute, tried to seduce Simon.
  • A Little Burst: Olive's son, Christopher, gets married to Sue, a woman Olive dislikes. Olive overhears Sue mocking her dress and personality, and retaliates by stealing and damaging some of her clothes.
  • Starving: Harmon, the owner of a hardware store, begins an affair with Daisy Foster, a widow, after his wife Bonnie loses interest in sex. He becomes fascinated by Tim Burnham and his girlfriend Nina, a young couple who live a free-spirited lifestyle. Nina suffers from anorexia and dies after a relapse.
  • Incoming Tide: Kevin Coulson, a former student of Olive's, returns to Crosby after a failed suicide attempt. He meets Olive at the marina and they talk about their lives and problems. Kevin reveals that he is gay and that his mother Rachel, Olive's friend, died of cancer.
  • A Different Road: Olive and Henry are taken hostage by a gunman at a hospital, where they went for a routine checkup. They are forced to confront their fears and regrets, and bond with their fellow hostages. The gunman eventually surrenders and no one is harmed.
  • Winter Concert: Olive attends a winter concert at the high school, where she meets Julie, the new wife of Christopher, who divorced Sue. Olive dislikes Julie, who is pregnant, and thinks she is too young and immature for Christopher. Olive also runs into Jack Kennison, a widower who recently moved to Crosby.
  • Tulips: Olive visits Henry at a nursing home, where he is recovering from a stroke that left him partially paralyzed and unable to speak. She feels guilty for not loving him enough and for having an affair with Jim O'Casey, a fellow teacher. She also meets Cindy, Henry's nurse, who is kind and compassionate.
  • Basket of Trips: Christopher and Julie visit Olive at her home, with their four children, three of whom are adopted from different countries. Olive feels overwhelmed by the chaos and noise, and has trouble connecting with her grandchildren. She also resents Christopher for moving to New York and for blaming her for his problems.
  • Ship in a Bottle: Jane Houlton, a former colleague of Olive's, recalls her affair with Bob Burgess, a married man who was Olive's lover in college. Jane reveals that she had a daughter with Bob, who died in a car crash when she was a baby. She also tells Olive that Bob committed suicide after his wife found out about their affair.
  • Security: Olive travels to New York to visit Christopher and his family, who have moved to a new apartment. She feels out of place and unwelcome, and argues with Christopher over his parenting and his resentment towards her. She also meets Ann, Christopher's therapist, who tries to help them reconcile.
  • Criminal: Rebecca Brown, a young woman who grew up in Crosby, becomes a successful poet and moves to California. She returns to Maine for a reading, where she meets Olive, who was her teacher in seventh grade. Rebecca confesses that she was molested by her father, and that Olive was the only person who noticed her distress and tried to help her.
  • River: Olive, now in her seventies, develops a romantic relationship with Jack Kennison, who suffers from a heart condition. They share their joys and sorrows, and support each other through their health issues. Olive also reconnects with Christopher, who apologizes for his behavior and invites her to his daughter's wedding. Olive reflects on her life and accepts her mortality.

The Miniseries

The miniseries is a faithful adaptation of the novel, with some minor changes and omissions. The miniseries covers the stories from Pharmacy to River, skipping Starving, A Different Road, Basket of Trips, and Ship in a Bottle.

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