White Oleander is a painfully beautiful first novel about a young girl growing up the hard way. It is a powerful story of mothers and daughters, their ambiguous alliances, their selfish love and cruel behaviour, and the search for love and identity.Astrid has been raised by her mother, a beautiful, headstrong poet in a loving but isolated relationship. Ingrid is a free spirit given to making poetical, pretentious pronouncements who wilfully neglects her daughter and overlooks her motherly duties. Astrid forgives her everything as her world revolves around this beautiful creature until Ingrid murders a former lover and is imprisoned for life. Astrid becomes one of the thousands of foster children in Los Angeles, the damaged people looking only to survive. As she steers her way through this changed reality - a series of homes, guns, drugs, suicide and dysfunctional families and couples - she finds strength in her unshakeable certainty of her own worth, her need to paint and her unfettered sense of the absurd. Astrid's fierce determination to survive and be loved makes her an unforgettable figure in this elegantly crafted debut novel which is like a siren song ready to seduce and hypnotise you.
Janet Fitch's first novel, White Oleander, a #1 bestseller and Oprah's Book Club selection, has been translated into 24 languages and was made into a feature film. Her most recent novel, Paint It Black, hit bestseller lists across the country and has also been made into a film. She lives in Los Angeles.
Poignant, virtuosic and utterly captivating
However good the film version, starring Michelle Pfeiffer and Renee Zellwegger, it won't beat Janet Fitch's reissued novel White Oleander.
Liquid poetry is how Oprah Winfrey described it.
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