Olive Kitteridge

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This article is about the novel. For the TV miniseries, see Olive Kitteridge (miniseries).
Olive Kitteridge
Olive-kitteridge l.jpg
First edition hardcover
Author Elizabeth Strout
Country United States
Language English
Genre Short stories
Publisher Random House
Publication date
March 25, 2008
Media type Print (hardcover)
Pages 288 pages
ISBN 978-1-4000-6208-9
OCLC 123767230
813/.54 22
LC Class PS3569.T736 O5 2008

Olive Kitteridge (2008) is a novel by American author Elizabeth Strout. It presents a portrait of the title character and a number of recurring characters in the coastal town of Crosby, Maine. It takes the form of 13 short stories that are interrelated but discontinuous in terms of narrative. It won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and was a finalist for the 2008 National Book Critics Circle Award. HBO produced a four-part mini-series, based on the novel, featuring Frances McDormand in the title role, which aired on November 2 and 3, 2014.[1][2][3] The series won eight awards at the 2015 Primetime Emmys.[4]


  • Pharmacy
  • Incoming Tide
  • The Piano Player
  • A Little Burst
  • Starving
  • A Different Road
  • Winter Concert
  • Tulips
  • Basket of Trips
  • Ship in a Bottle
  • Security
  • Criminal
  • River


The Kitteridge Family

  • Olive Kitteridge - an abrasive junior high school math teacher, later a volunteer for a variety of organizations including the American Red Cross and a museum in Portland, Maine.
  • Henry Kitteridge - Olive's husband, Crosby's town pharmacist.
  • Pauline Kitteridge - Henry's mother. She and Olive had a bad relationship.
  • Ora - Olive's aunt.
  • Christopher "Chris" Kitteridge - Olive and Henry's son, a podiatrist.
  • Dr. Suzanne "Sue" Bernstein-Kitteridge - Chris's first wife, Jewish, from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, persuades him to leave Crosby and move to California, they divorce soon thereafter.
  • Ann Kitteridge - Chris's second wife, met in a support group for divorcees, encourages him to follow their therapist to New York City.
  • Theodore - Ann's son by her first marriage.
  • Annabelle - Ann's daughter, father never identified, apparently the result of a fling after her divorce.

The Thibodeau/McCarthy Family

  • Denise Thibodeau - works at Henry Kitteridge's pharmacy, the not-so-secret object of his affection.
  • Henry Thibodeau - Denise's first husband, a former football hero, works as a plumber, killed in a hunting accident by his best friend Tony Kuzio.
  • Jerry McCarthy - overweight delivery boy at the pharmacy, eventually becomes Denise's second husband, they move to Texas.
  • Paul McCarthy - Jerry and Denise's teenaged son, obese like his father.

Lounge Patrons and Employees

  • Angela "Angie" O'Meara - alcoholic piano player.
  • Malcolm Moody - Crosby's first selectman, having an extramarital affair with Angie.
  • Joe - bartender.
  • Betty - waitress.
  • Walter Dalton - alcoholic regular, former college professor, Malcom Moody calls him a "fairy."
  • Simon - Angie's former boyfriend, also a piano player, left her to become a real estate lawyer in Boston, Massachusetts.

The Foster Connections

  • Daisy Foster - goes to church with Henry Kitteridge (whereas Olive will not).
  • Copper Foster - Daisy's deceased husband, a policeman.
  • Harmon - surname never given, owns hardware store, has an affair with Daisy.
  • Bonnie - Harmon's wife, he eventually leaves her for Daisy. They have 4 adult sons, but only two are named.
  • Kevin - One of Harmon and Bonnie's sons, he keeps in closest contact with his parents.
  • Derrick - Another of Harmon and Bonnie's sons, more aloof.
  • Martha - Kevin's wife, a vegetarian.

The Burnham Connections

  • Timothy "Tim" Burnham - sawmill worker, busted for growing marijuana.
  • Nina White - Tim's girlfriend, suffers from anorexia, Daisy Foster, Harmon and Olive all try to help her, eventually dies in treatment.
  • Victoria - Nina's friend who eventually steals Tim from her and worsens her eating disorder.
  • Kathleen Burnham - Tim's aunt.

The Houlton Family

The Granger Family

  • Alan Granger - he and his wife are called "The Lydias" by the Houlton family, because their connection is through their daughter.
  • Donna Granger - the other half of "The Lydias," has eye lift surgery that Jane Houlton finds disturbing.
  • Lydia Granger - Alan and Donna's daughter, married a veterinarian who bit her.
  • Patty Granger - another daughter of Alan and Donna.

The Larkin Family

  • Roger Larkin - a banker.
  • Louise Larkin - Roger's wife, a guidance counselor at Olive's school, undergoes shock therapy in Portland.
  • Doyle Larkin - Roger and Louise's son, murders a woman by stabbing her repeatedly.

The Monroe-Bonney Family

  • Marlene Monroe Bonney - Olive's former student, also mentioned as a customer at Harmon's hardware store.
  • Ed Bonney - Marlene's high school sweetheart and eventual husband, owns a grocery, dies after a lengthy illness.
  • Eddie Bonney - Marlene and Ed's son, serves in the United States Coast Guard.
  • Lee Ann Bonney - Marlene and Ed's daughter, studying to become a nurse.
  • Cheryl Bonney - Marlene and Ed's younger daughter.
  • Kerry Monroe - Marlene's cousin, gets in trouble with the law, briefly tries to seduce Chris Kitteridge, an alcoholic, gets a job at the Bonney grocery, seduces Ed (which she reveals at his funeral before passing out).

The Harwood Family

  • Anita Harwood - cashier at hospital coffee shop, former "Miss Potato Queen".
  • Jim/Jimmy Harwood - Anita's husband, school janitor, recovering alcoholic.
  • Winnifred "Winnie" Harwood - Anita and Jim's daughter.
  • Julie - Anita's daughter by her first marriage, one of Olive's former students.
  • Kyle - Winnie's uncle, evidently Anita's brother, supplies the family with tranquilizers.
  • Ted - Anita's first husband, Julie's father, a carpenter.
  • Bruce - Julie's fiance who jilts her on their wedding day, a vacationer from Boston who rented a cottage with his brothers.

The Brown-Caskey Family

  • Rebecca Brown - one of Olive's former students, a kleptomaniac who can't get a job.
  • David - Rebecca's live-in boyfriend.
  • Rev. Carleton Brown - Rebecca's father.
  • Charlotte Caskey Brown - Rebecca's mother, abandons her family, moves to Tarzana, California where she becomes a follower of Scientology.
  • Katherine Caskey - Rebecca's aunt.
  • Rev. Tyler Caskey - Rebecca's grandfather, a Congregational minister.


  • Bob Beane - encountered Angie O'Meara's ex-boyfriend Simon in Boston.
  • Andrea Bibber - one of Olive's former students, a Social Worker
  • Cynthia Bibber - Andrea's mother, suggests Olive and Henry are depressed after hospital incident.
  • Mary Blackwell - indiscreet nurse who revealed Louise Larkin had undergone shock treatments at the hospital where she used to work in Portland, later takes a job at a local nursing home.
  • Susan Bradford - attends Ed Bonney's funeral.
  • Emily Buck - postal clerk.
  • Cindy - Henry Kitteridge's nurse at the assisted living facility after he has a stroke.
  • Molly Collins - home economics teacher, she and Olive help Marlene Bonney host a reception after her husband's funeral.
  • Candy Connelly - Harmon's fourth grade crush.
  • Harry Coombs - died of lymphoma.
  • Dr. Kevin Coulson - returns from New York to commit suicide, impulse interrupted by a visit with Olive and a near drowning.
  • Bessie Davis - old maid, frequent customer at Harmon's hardware store, lonely, talks too much.
  • Mrs. Granger - cantankerous employee at Henry Kitteridge's pharmacy, dies in her sleep, replaced by Denise Thibodeau.
  • Matt Grearson - attends Ed Bonney's funeral.
  • Cecil Green - "slow", he brings coffee and donuts to the reporters who hover around the Larkin home after Doyle murders a woman.
  • Patty Crane Howe - waitress at the marina, recently miscarried, almost drowns but is rescued by Kevin Coulson and Olive.
  • Rachel Jones - gets Valium from Henry Kitteridge after her husband leaves her.
  • Jack Kennison - stuffy Harvard graduate, retired in Crosby with wife, they have one daughter (unnamed) who is a lesbian and lives in California, he and Olive begin dating after they are both widowed, she is shocked to discover he is a Republican.
  • Mrs. Kettleworth - Daisy Foster stole a pear from her front yard when she was a child.
  • Tony Kuzio - Henry Thibodeau's lifelong friend, kills him in a hunting accident.
  • Miss Lampley - Chris Kitteridge's first grade teacher.
  • Beth Marden - operates a nursery school, Julie's former employer.
  • Donny Madden - attends Ed Bonney's funeral.
  • Greg Marston - buys ball bearings at Harmon's hardware store.
  • Mrs. Merriman - gets her blood pressure medicine at Henry Kitteridge's pharmacy.
  • Cliff Mott - suffering from heart disease but still shovels snow.
  • Bill Newton - friend of Henry and Olive Kitteridge.
  • Bunny Newton - Bill's wife, Olive's confidant.
  • Karen Newton - Bill and Bunny's daughter, cheats on her husband Eddie.
  • Jim O'Casey - taught at junior high school with Olive, he picked her and Chris up every morning to drive them to school, spoke of leaving their spouses and running away together but he died in an automobile accident, perhaps while drunk, before acting on this impulse.
  • Wayne Roote - suffers from dementia.
  • Betty Simms - close neighbor of Olive and Henry, had five children.
  • Mrs. Tibbets - gets erythromycin prescription filled at Henry Kitteridge's pharmacy.
  • Les Washburn - landlord, rents a house first to Tim Burnham and Nina White, but evicts them after a pot bust, later rents the same house to Daisy Foster and Harmon.


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