Astrid Magnussen, the teenage narrator of Janet Fitch's engrossing first novel, White Oleander, has a mother who is as sharp as a new knife. An uncompromising poet, Ingrid despises weakness and self- pity, telling her daughter that they are descendants of Vikings, savages who fought fiercely... show more
Astrid Magnussen, the teenage narrator of Janet Fitch's engrossing first novel, White Oleander, has a mother who is as sharp as a new knife. An uncompromising poet, Ingrid despises weakness and self- pity, telling her daughter that they are descendants of Vikings, savages who fought fiercely to survive. And when one of Ingrid's boyfriends abandons her, she illustrates her point, killing the man with the poison of oleander flowers. This leads to a life-sentence in prison, leaving Astrid to teach herself the art of survival in a string of Los Angeles foster homes. As Astrid bumps from trailer park to tract house to Hollywood bungalow, White Oleander uncoils her existential anxieties. "Who was I, really?" she asks. "I was the sole occupant of my mother's totalitarian state, my own personal history rewritten to fit the story she was telling that day. There were so many missing pieces." Fitch adroitly leads Astrid down a path of sorting out her past and identity. In the process, this girl develops a wire-tight inner strength, gains her mother's white-blonde beauty, and achieves some measure of control over their relationship. Even from prison, Ingrid tries to mould her daughter. Foiling her, Astrid learns about tenderness from one foster mother and how to stand up for herself from another. Like the weather in Los Angeles--the winds of the Santa Anas, the scorching heat--Astrid's teenage life is intense. Fitch's novel deftly displays that, and also makes Astrid's life meaningful. --Katherine Anderson
Format: mass market paperback
Publish date: September 1st 2001
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Pages no: 496
Edition language: English
, Book Club
, Adult Fiction
, Coming Of Age
, Womens Fiction
, Chick Lit
I'm completely angry at myself for leaving this book unread and on a shelf for as long as I did. White Oleander is one of the most unique and beautifully written books that I've come across.
I disliked the book at first. The prose is too flowery to my taste and the story was rather flat. But at some point in the middle, I started to feel a connection to Astrid. The story itself is great, although it's no fairy tale. I still don't like the flowery words, though, and they often don't soun...
"The phoenix must burn to emerge."This book was all about this quote - a phoenix (Astrid) who burns and emerges in the end.I came across ‘White Oleander’ by few quotes which I loved, which made me curious to read this book to know what was it about. And then fell in love with it!! I would like to po...
Seductive and intoxicating is what this book is. The descriptive writing and metaphors are sensual and so very beautiful. It draws you in like a warm, comfortable fire on a cold day, and when you get too close and are in danger of getting burnt (from the storyline), you still cannot tear yourself aw...
Strong, dynamic work that deserves its solid 4/5. Short of being a "timeless classic" or a work of "great literature," White Oleander succeeds in winning sympathy for a girl swept along by tragedy but finding inner-strength to honestly express who she is. One is convinced, moreover, of the sincerity...