Astrid is the only child of a single mother, Ingrid, a brilliant, obsessed poet who wields her luminous beauty to intimidate and manipulate men. Astrid worships her mother and cherishes their private world full of ritual and mystery - but their idyll is shattered when Astrid's mother falls apart over a lover. Deranged by rejection, Ingrid murders the man, and is sentenced to life in prison.
White Oleander is the unforgettable story of Astrid's journey through a series of foster homes and her efforts to find a place for herself in impossible circumstances. Each home is its own universe, with a new set of laws and lessons to be learned. With determination and humor, Astrid confronts the challenges of loneliness and poverty, and strives to learn who a motherless child in an indifferent world can become. Oprah Winfrey enjoyed this gripping first novel so much that she not only made it her book club pick, she asked if she could narrate the audio release.
Do not bother with this audiobook
I love the book, and really wanted the audiobook. All I could find was this abridged version. I am not usually a fan but thought I would try it anyways. First off, Oprah is an amazing woman, but shouldn't be the voice narrator of this book. She gives all of the characters a southern twang, which makes no sense for their location (California) or the characters themselves. And then, in shortening the book (why they would want to, I'll never know) they absolutely butcher it. They remove massive chunks of the book including at least 2 foster homes and McKinnley Hall (where she meets Paul Trout!!). They also cut out characters and remove depth. Fantastic book, but don't listen to this version. I had to stop listening half way through, was just getting angry.
Paint It Black
This is not Janet Fitch's first book, White Oleander was, that was "the gripping tale," this was less than gripping. Paint it Black is tragic, unexpected and not as ...well good.