This is the story of Astrid and her experiences in foster care, the different people she lives with and how they change her as a person, and her complicated relationship with her mother. I found it quite a difficult book to read really as it is very sad and quite disturbing in some parts, as her experiences of foster homes are mostly negative. I really pitied Astrid, she is such a very lonely person and craves people’s love even if these people, or their love, are not good for her.

It is sad that she gradually becomes more and more mistrustful of people and prefers not to get close to them in case they abandon her, rather than open up and trust them and maybe attain a happy family life. As she progresses through these foster homes she builds more and more defences around herself, and also begins to believe she deserves this unhappiness.

Her mother is a very complex person, and I really fought against believing she was as selfish, and calculating and cruel and arrogant and uncaring, as she seemed, but unfortunately she was and this I found very sad. And also, even though she identified all these bad character traits in her mother, Astrid still wanted her love.

I think this is the type of book that stays in your mind for quite some time – I didn’t find it particularly pleasant to read, but I also found I had to keep reading until the conclusion.

White Oleander (Paperback)

By (author): Janet Fitch

(White Oleander is a painfully beautiful first novel about a young girl growing up the hard way. It is a powerful story of mothers and daughters, their ambiguous alliances, their selfish love and cruel behaviour, and the search for love and identity.Astrid has been raised by her mother, a beautiful, headstrong poet. Astrid forgives her everything as her world revolves around this beautiful creature until Ingrid murders a former lover and is imprisoned for life. Astrid's fierce determination to survive and be loved makes her an unforgettable figure. 'LIQUID POETRY' - Oprah Winfrey)
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