2020 has been quite the horrendous year, but the book world has been thriving. The number of phenomenal releases published this year is hard to wrap your head around. My reading list is never-ending and I fear that my bookshelves may collapse if I add another new title to the already momentous pile of books waiting to be read.
One book that I completely adored was Olive by Emma Gannon, which I read at the beginning of this month. I have adored Emma Gannon for years so I certainly had high hopes when it came to her debut novel and I was not disappointed.
Knows her own mind.
Olive is many things, and it’s ok that she’s still figuring it all out, navigating her world without a compass. But life comes with expectations, there are choices to be made, boxes to tick and – sometimes – stereotypes to fulfil. And when her best friends’ lives start to branch away towards marriage and motherhood, leaving the path they’ve always followed together, Olive starts to question her choices – because life according to Olive looks a little bit different.
Olive soared to the top of my favourite books of the year so far, sitting alongside Out Of Love by Hazel Hayes and Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens.
It is an addictive, comforting and eye-opening story that many of us are familiar with, but one that isn’t told enough for fear of being judged or shamed. Olive is a complete powerhouse and I instantly wanted to be friends with her. Gannon has created a character so realistic and likeable that I felt like I knew Olive for years.
Her story is a reminder that we don’t know what someone is going through and how we all need to be that little bit more sensitive and careful in life.
Gannon writes about topics like not wanting children, dealing with the breakdown of long term relationships and fertility struggles in an honest, but sensitive way. She doesn’t overwhelm the reader with heartache or fear, but writes in a tender way that almost feels like you’re talking to a friend.
What I adored most about this book was the honest portrayal of adult friendship and how it isn’t all blissful brunches and gossiping in wine bars. Friendship takes a lot of work and effort and Olive portrays that so perfectly. Olive and her friends are flawed beings, just like all of us. They have communication issues, they haven’t got everything figured out and they let each other down. They fall out and argue and mess up, like we’ve all done in the past.
Olive is the most refreshing read and even though it is a work of fiction, it is a story that will resonate with so many women and I’m so glad that it is finally being told.
This is the one book you need to pick up this summer. I learned so much and Olive felt like the literary friend I needed during these intense times.
Olive by Emma Gannon is published by Harper Collins. You can order a copy here.