White Oleander by Janet Fitch
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Astrid Magnussen's mother, Ingrid, is strong, self-relying, and unsympathetic to weakness of any kind. She also has strong rules against love and the way it should be properly handled. Ingrid is Astrid's world, everything she knows she learned from her mother, but she finds herself teaching herself to survive when her mother kills a lover (whom her mother falls in love with, breaking every rule she ever had) who tossed her aside.
I didn't expect to like this as much as I did. I watched the movie first and liked it. I was pretty much willing to accept what had been told in the movie, but I am glad that I finally read the novel. It was hard to put this book down. The reader follows Astrid from innocence to maturity. We also see her progress from being the doting daughter to the cynical teen who loves and hates her mother at the same time.
She does a lot of growing up in her foster homes, and she learns many things that aid her in the struggle to survive. Ingrid still plays a vital role in Astrid's life even though she's in prison. Ingrid is literally Astrid's world even in the confines of prison. She can still manipulate Astrid's life, even though Astrid tries to prevent that from happening.
Astrid and Ingrid's relationship is a complex one even to be a mother-daughter relationship. I didn't agree with some of the decisions that Astrid and her mother made, but life isn't perfect, why should this book be? Issues abound in this book from women's issues, maternal issues, mother-daughter issues, etc.
Note: Old review that I'm importing from an old book blog.
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