White Oleander is a passionate, hypnotic and dangerous novel, exploring un-spoken themes of today's tangled world.
Janet Fitch tells the moving and complicated story of Astrid, a child raised in a potent world of beauty and destruction. Her mother, a twisted and un-earthly artist raises her daughter into this potent world, before emotionally torturing and murdering her former lover, thus leaving Astrid alone and vulnerable. “White Oleander” explores Astrid’s emotional journey through countless foster homes, where she faces incest, murder and, above all, her own powerful mind.
But is not just the twisted, shocking plot which makes this novel un-missable. Fitch writes with tragic passion and charisma, making the characters and their broken worlds dance with life and colour. Each different part of Astrid’s slow clamber to adulthood evokes such empathy and impact, it is virtually impossible not to become addicted.
Although the plot at times becomes very complicated, this book explores love, loss, lust and life, looking at how we can as humans adapt and change over time.
However unbelievable it may seem, this story somehow really made an impact to me personally, making me look at the situations around me in a different way. Fitch makes the book especially enjoyable, by combining a high lexis and sentence structure with beautifully descriptive use of language. Her style makes the whole novel exceptionally pleasurable to read, as her selective use of verbs and adjectives helps us as readers to build up a vivid picture of the unfolding and intriguing life of a strong young ‘lady’. The book rapidly changes from an everyday story into a colourful bible for the aspiring artist in all of us.
In short, I think “White Oleander” is an original and wonderful piece of modern literature. It combines everything I enjoy in a book: wonderfully likable characters, a compelling plot and bags of stylish language technique. Throughout the book, I didn’t want the novel to end. I strongly recommend this compelling book to all e readers, as I think everybody should experience Janet Fitch’s captivating account of life and how truly lucky we are.
Review by Heidi-Victoria Ireland,