Book Reviews of White Oleander

White Oleander
White Oleander
Author: Janet Fitch
ISBN-13: 9780316182546
ISBN-10: 0316182540
Publication Date: 9/1/2001
Pages: 480
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.

4 stars, based on 352 ratings
Publisher: Little, Brown
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

40 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed White Oleander on + 10 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
It's an amazing book. Written so poetically and beautifully, it's one that will keep you reading until the very end! How she deals with all of the different homes, situations, and styles of life are completely amazing and how she develops into the person she is (Some in a bad way). I've never seen the movie, but this is one of the best books i've ever read!
reviewed White Oleander on + 25 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
This is one of those books I pick up once a year and read through. I love getting lost into this odd artistic world. This strong woman and her daughter caught in her shadow. It speaks to me on so many levels of curiosity. I never tire of it.
reviewed White Oleander on + 2 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
A peek into a world that is mostly unknown to the average person. An artisticly inclined women and her daughter of like quality, are ripped apart after her mother's fatal decision. A story filled with unimaginably sad twists and one youth's fight to survive.
reviewed White Oleander on + 2 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I loved this book. When I heard there was going to be a movie I was so excited but the movie fell flat for me. It lacked so much. If you haven't read the book but have seen the movie, I highly recommend you giving the book a shot. You won't be disappointed!
reviewed White Oleander on + 4 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
One of my favorite books. Well written, with a poetic, lyrical style. Outshines both the movie, and Fitch's second book. Have read this at least twenty times...
reviewed White Oleander on + 58 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This book is a work of art. Each word is like dripping honey and I couldn't get enough. The best part, however, is the evolution of Astrid's feelings toward her jailed mother, and the changing nature of their relationship. Seeing through the eyes of abandoned, passed-around Astrid is all at once heart-breaking and transformative. Her skewed view of the world, as drilled into her by her destructive and poisonous mother, is slowly molded, changed, and this makes her a stronger woman, able to see many sides of a situation, and wade through flowery-poetic bullshit she is so used to interpreting. Fantastic read!
reviewed White Oleander on + 3 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This book was incredible! I had stopped reading books for the past few years and just started back up. This was a great choice! I could not put it down. The author is incredibly detailed and descriptive. The vocabulary is also impressive at points. Definitely recommended!!
reviewed White Oleander on + 2 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This book was beautifully written. I thoroughly enjoyed it from beginning to end.
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Helpful Score: 1
Having picked this up at a book sale and full well knowing even before I started reading it that it was an Oprah Book club book, I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised by this novel. Although sometimes overly dramatic, the overall plot is interesting enough to keep you reading and thinking about it even when you have to put the book down. If you would like to read something that is not necessarily the "average" fiction novel, you should try this one.
reviewed White Oleander on + 42 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Once I began this book I was committed to finishing it without hesitating. It was an irresistible to put down at points wanting to finish, to find some peace hopefully at the end. Once I commit to something, I'm in it to win it...or at least get all the way to the finish line.
This girl's life was in a state of tremendous upheaval, and I was expecting a vastly different ending. Unfortunately, the ending left me a bit unsettled. Overall it was considerably detailed in all it's elements and a must read!
reviewed White Oleander on
Helpful Score: 1
I read this years ago and enjoyed it. It's not a happy story, but it's an intriguing one.
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This novel follows Astrid's journey through a series of foster homes while her mother is imprisoned. Each foster home is unique and disturbing in a different way. We experience the physical and emotional changes that Astrid endures. The language of Janet Fitch's writing is beautiful and intriguing. An incredible read, much better than the movie.
reviewed White Oleander on
Incredible book about relationship between a mother and a daughter. Astrid was thrust into the foster care system after her mother goes to prison for murdering an ex-boyfriend. Her mother was a poet and lived an avante guard life style, keeping her daughter hauntingly thirsting for her mother during the years of living with an assortment of foster care families in L.A. Although she was in prison, she could still control her daughters life with her words. As Astrid grows through puberty into a young woman she becomes self reliant and independent. After her foster mother committs suicide because of something her mother said, Astrid turns from her mother and sees her as she really is, self serving and controlling. She becomes more self reliant and is able to break the spell of her mother over her.
A very provocative book, I didn't want it to end!
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emotional-a young girl's growth and journey
reviewed White Oleander on + 3 more book reviews
This was another choice for book club and one that I did not enjoy that much. I found this book to be really dark and depressing and it left me feeling emotionally drained. I felt even worse after I watched the movie. While it is well written, it was not a book that I will read again.
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Good rainy day read.
reviewed White Oleander on + 140 more book reviews
This was a very good book. It sure makes you appreciate your family.
reviewed White Oleander on + 28 more book reviews
A Book Club Choice. A great story!
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Oprah can't be wrong..from her book club!This Novel is haunting,engaging...avivid story complete with conniving characters and dramatic twist into a teenage girl's life throu fostercare as she becomes so bitter...
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Loved it...beautifully written, characters fully developed coming to life as the narrative flows.
reviewed White Oleander on
Written with poetic justice!

Although this book started out with a bit of a yawn, taking me about the first two chapters before it gained interest, I am certainly delighted I did not put it down!!

I was captured. The story delves into areas your mind does not want to go, but it is taken. Like watching a wreck (you do not want to see it, but cannot look away). Janet Fitch grabs you in such an artistic, poetic way, that you are intrigued, disgusted, and with a peel-your-skin-back kind of way. Yet, you know there is too much of a reality mixed in this novel, as well.

This should be a suggested read to all mature readers!!
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I liked the book better than the movie-
Its a really gripping novel, and a good read.
reviewed White Oleander on
An Oprah selection.

This is th eunforgettable story of Ingrid, a brilliant poet imprisoned for murder, and her daughter, Astrid, whose odyssey through a series of foster homes--each its own universe, with its own laws, its own dangers, its own hard lessons to be learned--becomes a redeeming and surprising journey of self discovery.
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Well written and thought provoking.
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Pretty good read, but very sad and depressing at points.
reviewed White Oleander on + 55 more book reviews
Oprah's Book Club. The unforgettable story of a brilliant poet imprisoned for murder and her daughter whose odyssey through a series of foster homes becomes a redeeming and surprising journey of self-discovery. A stunning debut novel.
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great read!
reviewed White Oleander on
I saw the movie before reading this book. Both movie and book are haunting, engaging. The story of a young girl who struggles with the foster care system, a controlling, unbalanced mother in prison, and life.
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Strange but compelling story.
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I love this book. This is my fave book. Janet Fitch is so awesome! I enjoy her work very much! Can't wait to read more! :)
reviewed White Oleander on + 14 more book reviews
One of my absolute favorite books. A page turner with writing so lyrical it reads like a poem.
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The story of a girl's trials and turbulations in foster care.
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Oprah Book Club selection. A brilliant poet is imprisoned for her murder and her daughter winds through a maze of foster homes. Great characterization. Gripping.
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A very well written novel. Definately one for the literary shelves.
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An Oprah's Club book, made into a movie starring Michelle Pfeiffer.
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Fantastic read!
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An Oprah selection, very good and so is the movie.
reviewed White Oleander on + 381 more book reviews
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 mold 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.
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loved it - how could you not.
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This is the best novel EVER!! Definately reccomended to anyone with the patience to finish a LONG story (totally worth it)