White Oleander by Janet Fitch: Astrid is the daughter of the brilliant poet Ingrid Magnussen, a gorgeous and distant woman who has travelled all over the world. When Astrid is 12 years old, Ingrid goes to prison for murder, leaving her in a series of foster homes, each with their own rules, their own lessons to be learned. The story chronicles her life through age 18, her journey always returning to the same question of how to escape her mother’s influence, and whether she really wants to after all. On the surface, this sounded like the sort of book I’d read to pass the time, with more interest in having read it than actually reading it. I was mistaken. Utterly. I was completely sucked in, to the point where I was thinking about it during the times I couldn’t read, and had trouble putting it down during the times when I could. I read it for my entire five-hour flight from Nevada; I can’t remember the last time I found a book so engrossing. I just had to know what happened next, what new mentor Astrid, so used to being told what to do and how to think, would choose. I don’t know that I would necessarily call this book “exciting,” but it certainly was a page-turner for me. Beyond the story, the language was intense, beautiful, and precise. I could picture it all.
Also posted on BookCrossing.