For as long as I can remember, like millions of people around the world, I was obsessed with Oprah. When her Book Club was launched I was barely a teen but I recall thinking this was it – I will read every single book that she features. Of course, that never happened but I did in fact read several. I vividly remember reading two (2) in particular, one of which I will briefly review here.
When White Oleander was released I read it because Oprah said to. It was a startling read with complex characters and a gripping plot. It did much for my creative mind and spirit but I was probably a little too young to appreciate the underlying themes and perspectives. So what did I do? I read it again as an adult.
White Oleander is an unforgettable story of a mother and daughter.
The single mother, Ingrid, a brilliant and obsessed poet, uses her luminous beauty to intimidate and manipulate men. Astrid, who worships her mother and cherishes their private world, is shattered when her mother spirals overs a lover. Overcome by feelings of rejection, Ingrid murders the man, and is sentenced to life in prison.
Astrid must now go through a series of foster homes and find a place for herself amongst strangers and the most difficult circumstances. She confronts loneliness and poverty but turns her pain and feelings of loss into a powerful theme of survival in a cruel world.
A must-read, timeless and relevant novel.