Book Review: White Oleander

by Cait

So I’m reading a ridiculous amount this summer. My love for books has been rediscovered and refurbished and it’s gleaming and overwhelming and completely time-consuming. I know I sound a little fanatical, but it’s just how I feel this week. Anyways,  I sometimes find myself gravitating toward novels that are less than wholesome, educational English class reads. (Think 50 Shades. I really hope my mom doesn’t read this! Sorry Mom!) That is not the case this summer, other than my initial first slip up at the library “H-O-T Summer Reads” shelf anyways.

Moving on… I’m making a visible effort (in my opinion anyway) of reading good books this warm weather season. Most notably, Janet Fitch’s White Oleander. It is a riveting novel of mother daughter relationships, none of which are ideal. But that idea is exactly what it seeks to show. There are no ideal relationships.



Ingrid Magnussen is a volatile soul who writes poetry and sees little in life that is worth her time outside of words. Astrid is her striking daughter who can’t seem to find a good balance between hiding behind her mother’s shadow and seeking questionable friendships with older men. When Ingrid is sent to prison, Astrid fate is left up to the foster care system. She bounces from home to home on a tumultuous journey of self-discovery and young adulthood-complete with lust, questionable morals, and art. Astrid’s communication with her mother is spotty and disjointed throughout her teenage years, but her focus on art and expressing herself through various mediums keeps  her feet somewhat planted.

Fitch does a number on stream of consciousness, and breaking the barriers to a young girl’s mind. The pictures she paints through Astrid’s eyes captured me and made me want to seek out creativity in my day-to-day life. You’ll feel sadness, anger, and appreciation within this novel, so count on emotions running high.

Until next time or not, I’m still Cait.