Literature Monday: White Oleander, Janet Fitch

Hello, beautiful people! I know it’s not a Monday today, but I submitted my last paper of the semester last Tuesday and I was so excited to work on non-academic fare that I just had to publish this entry.

White Oleander by Janet Fitch is a book that always seemed to be in my periphery, but I was never interested enough to pick up. One girl I knew in high school (I was part of the class of 2006, whuuuuut) was all about it, but we weren’t good enough friends that I could borrow her copy and I don’t think our library had it. So… I always put off reading it.

I decided to finally take the plunge a few months ago, and simultaneously fell in love with the story and regretted reading it. It didn’t just tug at my heartstrings, it obliterated them. I was wrecked, and could barely force myself to move forward. Still, with my penchant for toxic love stories and tragic tales, this was right up my alley. Until it got to the point where it hit me where I don’t like being hit — it was a story of maternal dysfunction too real for me to deal with.

Astrid and Ingrid together were a nightmare. A fucking nightmare. I blame all of it on Ingrid’s lack of affection; ultimately, it’s far too complicated to boil it down to that, I know, but oh dear god. Do not read this book if you’re looking for a happy afternoon (or commute) of reading. It’s just not going to happen.

“I cracked seeds in my teeth and flicked off the rubber sandals I’d been wearing since April. I could’t tell my mother I’d outgrown my shoes again, I didn’t want to remind her that I was the reason she was trapped in electric bills and kid’s shoes grown too small, the reason she was clawing at the windows like Michael’s dying tomatoes. She was a beautiful woman dragging a crippled foot and I was that foot. I was bricks sewn into the hem of her clothes, I was a steel dress.”

(Excerpt: White Oleander, by Janet Fitch, who broke my heart and wrecked my soul.)


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