Book 129: "White Oleander" by Janet Fitch

Title: White Oleander
Author: Janet Fitch
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company, 9/1/2006
Read In: Nook ePub

I have been wanting to read this book since I saw the movie however many years ago. The movie is actually a very good adaptation. This book centers around Astrid Magnussen and her relationship with her mother, Ingrid. Ingrid, early in the book, commits murder forcing Astrid into the foster care system. While Ingrid is described as the more compelling charcter, Astrid and her unique perspectives drive this novel. The novel is beautifully written with explicit description. This is fitting especially because Astrid is an artist; since this novel is written in first person perspective, the despription is how Astrid views the world: and ever-changing art piece.

This book gives incredible insight to the ups and downs of the foster care system. During Astrid's six years of foster care she lives in five foster homes, has an extended hospital stay, and one foster care center. This book takes the reader, through Astrid, through the horrific trauma of a foster child with no family. It carries a very strong feminist tendancy, focusing on primarily female characters and exploring their strengths and weaknesses. Astrid goes through several versions of herself before she finds her inner strength, who she is, and what she values. Each version of her gives her a different artistic venue and style.

I really enjoyed this book. It is filled with compelling characters and differing perspectives on life. It isn't afraid to be horrific, yet finds the beauty in those events. Really the story is horrifically beautiful, much like the characters.


  1. I confess that I have not yet read this classic, but will now pursue it. Thanks Laurel for the insightful review!


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