Coping the quote
30+ quotes from Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

Quotes from Olive Kitteridge

Elizabeth Strout ·  270 pages

Rating: (117.2K votes)


“You couldn't make yourself stop feeling a certain way, no matter what the other person did. You had to just wait. Eventually the feeling went away because others came along. Or sometimes it didn't go away but got squeezed into something tiny, and hung like a piece of tinsel in the back of your mind.”
― Elizabeth Strout, quote from Olive Kitteridge


“What young people didn't know, she thought, lying down beside this man, his hand on her shoulder, her arm; oh, what young people did not know. They did not know that lumpy, aged, and wrinkled bodies were as needy as their own young, firm ones, that love was not to be tossed away carelessly . . . No, if love was available, one chose it, or didn't chose it. And if her platter had been full with the goodness of Henry and she had found it burdensome, had flicked it off crumbs at a time, it was because she had not know what one should know: that day after day was unconsciously squandered. . . . But here they were, and Olive pictured two slices of Swiss cheese pressed together, such holes they brought to this union--what pieces life took out of you.”
― Elizabeth Strout, quote from Olive Kitteridge


“Had they known at these moments to be quietly joyful? Most likely not. People mostly did not know enough when they were living life that they were living it.”
― Elizabeth Strout, quote from Olive Kitteridge


“She didn't like to be alone. Even more, she didn't like being with people. (148)”
― Elizabeth Strout, quote from Olive Kitteridge


“Olive's private view is that life depends on what she thinks of as "big bursts" and "little bursts." Big bursts are things like marriage or children, intimacies that keep you afloat, but these big bursts hold dangerous, unseen currents. Which is why you need the little bursts as well: a friendly clerk at Bradlee's, let's say, or the waitress at Dunkin' Donuts who knows how you like your coffee. Tricky business, really.”
― Elizabeth Strout, quote from Olive Kitteridge


“He wanted to put his arms around her, but she had a darkness that seemed to stand beside her like an acquaintance that would not go away.”
― Elizabeth Strout, quote from Olive Kitteridge


“Traits don't change, states of mind do.”
― Elizabeth Strout, quote from Olive Kitteridge


“He would not let her go. Even though, staring into her open eyes in the swirling salt-filled water, with sun flashing though each wave, he thought he would like this moment to be forever: the dark-haired woman on shore calling for their safety, the girl who had once jumped rope like a queen, now holding him with a fierceness that matched the power of the ocean—oh, insane, ludicrous, unknowable world! Look how she wanted to live, look how she wanted to hold on.”
― Elizabeth Strout, quote from Olive Kitteridge


“But after a certain point in a marriage, you stopped having a certain kind of fight, Olive thought, because when the years behind you were more than the years in front of you, things were different.”
― Elizabeth Strout, quote from Olive Kitteridge


“It’s just that I’m the kind of person,' Rebecca continued, 'that thinks if you took a map of the whole world and put a pin in it for every person, there wouldn’t be a pin for me.”
― Elizabeth Strout, quote from Olive Kitteridge


“There were days - she could remember this - when Henry would hold her hand as they walked home, middle-aged people, in their prime. Had they known at these moments to be quietly joyful? Most likely not. People mostly did not know enough when they were living life that they were living it. But she had that memory now, of something healthy and pure.”
― Elizabeth Strout, quote from Olive Kitteridge


“You couldn't make yourself stop feeling a certain way, no matter what the other person did. You had to just wait. Eventually the feeling went away because others came along.”
― Elizabeth Strout, quote from Olive Kitteridge


“Oh that's lovely," said Bunny. "Olive, you've got a date."

"Why would you say something so foolish?" Olive asked, really annoyed. "We're two lonely people having supper."

"Exactly," said Bunny. "That's a date.”
― Elizabeth Strout, quote from Olive Kitteridge


“And then as the little plane climbed higher and Olive saw spread out below them fields of bright and tender green in this morning sun, farther out the coastline, the ocean shiny and almost flat, tiny white wakes behind a few lobster boats--then Olive felt something she had not expected to feel again: a sudden surging greediness for life. She leaned forward, peering out the window: sweet pale clouds, the sky as blue as your hat, the new green of the fields, the broad expanse of water--seen from up here it all appeared wondrous, amazing. She remembered what hope was, and this was it. That inner churning that moves you forward, plows you through life the way the boats below plowed the shiny water, the way the plane was plowing forward to a place new, and where she was needed.”
― Elizabeth Strout, quote from Olive Kitteridge


“Sometimes, like now, Olive had a sense of just how desperately hard every person in the world was working to get what they needed. For most, it was a sense of safety, in the sea of terror that life increasingly became. (211)”
― Elizabeth Strout, quote from Olive Kitteridge


“All these lives," she said. "All the stories we never know." (125)”
― Elizabeth Strout, quote from Olive Kitteridge


“Oh, gosh, Olive. I'm so embarrassed." "No need to be," Olive tells her. "We all want to kill someone at some point." (179)”
― Elizabeth Strout, quote from Olive Kitteridge


“It baffled her, the world. She did not want to leave it yet.”
― Elizabeth Strout, quote from Olive Kitteridge


“And yet, standing behind her son, waiting for the traffic light change, she remembered how in the midst of it all there had been a time when she'd felt a loneliness so deep that once, not so many years ago, having a cavity filled, the dentist's gentle turning of her chin with his soft fingers had felt to her like a tender kindness of almost excruciating depth, and she had swallowed with a groan of longing, tears springing to her eyes.”
― Elizabeth Strout, quote from Olive Kitteridge


“Don't be scared of your hunger. If you're scared of your hunger, you'll just be one more ninny like everyone else.”
― Elizabeth Strout, quote from Olive Kitteridge


“Each of his son's had been his favorite child.”
― Elizabeth Strout, quote from Olive Kitteridge


“Or maybe, he thought, returning to the boxes, it was part of being Catholic--you were made to feel guilty about everything”
― Elizabeth Strout, quote from Olive Kitteridge


“She remembered was hope was, and this was it. That inner churning that moves you forward, plows you through life the way the boats plowed the shiny water, the way the plane was plowing forward to a place new, and where she was needed.”
― Elizabeth Strout, quote from Olive Kitteridge


“She knows that loneliness can kill people - in different ways can actually make you die. (68)”
― Elizabeth Strout, quote from Olive Kitteridge


“He looked at the books, and she wanted to say, 'Stop that,' as though he were reading her diary.”
― Elizabeth Strout, quote from Olive Kitteridge


“The appetites of the body were private battles.”
― Elizabeth Strout, quote from Olive Kitteridge


“It seems to Henry, as he takes his seat in his usual middle pew, that women are far braver than men”
― Elizabeth Strout, quote from Olive Kitteridge


“Olive. . . knows that loneliness can kill people - in different ways can actually make you die. Olive's private view is that life depends on what she thinks of as "big bursts" and "little bursts". Big bursts are things like marriage or children, intimacies that keep you afloat, but these big bursts hold dangerous, unseen currents. Which is why you need the little bursts as well: a friendly clerk at Bradlee's, let's say, or the waitress at Dunkin' Donuts who knows how you like your coffee. Tricky business, really.”
― Elizabeth Strout, quote from Olive Kitteridge


“Back and forth she went each morning by the river, spring arriving once again; foolish, foolish spring, breaking open its tiny buds, and what she couldn’t stand was how—for many years, really—she had been made happy by such a thing. She had not thought she would ever become immune to the beauty of the physical world, but there you were. The river sparkled with the sun that rose, enough that she needed her sunglasses.”
― Elizabeth Strout, quote from Olive Kitteridge


“A lot of people don't have families. . . . . But they still have homes.”
― Elizabeth Strout, quote from Olive Kitteridge


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About the author

Elizabeth Strout
Born place: in Portland, Maine, The United States
Born date January 6, 1956
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