I am not exactly sure where to begin with this one. I found it on the shelves of a second hand bookshop that was having a closing down sale. A seven-dollar book with 75% was too much to pass up. I knew that ‘White Oleander’ was a movie and being someone that likes to read the book before I see the movie gave me more incentive to read it. If the movie is half as good as the book then I will definitely enjoy watching it.

‘White Oleander’ follows the difficult life of Astrid Magnussen. Living in the shadow of her brilliant mother Ingrid, Astrid feels that she has something to prove. Her life is what her mother moulds. After Ingrid is sent to prison for the murder of her former lover, Astrid is placed in foster home after foster home.

Now out on her own Astrid is given the chance to look inside and discover who she is, without the toxic influence of her self-absorbed mother. However each new foster parent and sibling add a new part to the Astrid jigsaw puzzle. This is a coming of age story unlike any other.

I did not directly relate directly to these characters but they engrossed me, I felt a somewhat voyeuristic relationship with them. It was interesting to see the impact mothers/fathers have on their children. How we absorb, reflect or repel the influences of our parents.

I am not quiet sure who I would recommend this book too. The main character is a young girl growing up, which is normally difficult under extremely stressful circumstances. I guess that most teenage girls would find this book interesting. However, I don’t think that is the authors target audience. I don’t think this is a story for the guys. Woman hurt by man, woman blames man for life’s problems, woman eventually kills man, and somehow I don’t think that appeals to the men. If you do get a chance I recommend reading this book. Now I am off to watch the movie.

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