The audiobook of Olive by Emma Gannon is due for publication 09 March 2021. The Kindle edition is available now.
EXCERPT: When I was twelve in 1999, I remember being obsessed with snipping cut-outs from my Mum’s old Argos catalogues and sticking them into the blank pages of my notepads. Notepads were the only present people bought me or put in my stocking, because I was always doodling as a tiny kid. I would have stacks of them: beaded ones, velvet ones, bright pink ones, furry ones, holographic ones and secret ones with a lock and key. But I had stopped writing and started making collages instead. I would neatly cut around pictures of products I found interesting from the flimsy thin pages of Argos and Pritt-stick them inside the blank pages. Navy blue patterned plates. A big wooden rolling pin. Hand painted tea cups. A garden slide. A stylish armchair. A woollen throw for a sofa. A picture frame designed for four landscape shaped photos. I would trim carefully around each one with big kitchen scissors, in circular motions, around the plates, bowls, crockery. I would stick them into the blank pages, designing my life in detail from an early age. I believed I would have these perfect things in my home when I was older. I would have a garden. I would live in a big house, bigger than my mum’s. I would have a husband. I would have a baby too, probably. Or two. Or three! Because that’s what you do. My friends would come round with their babies. They would all play together. We would go to the beach and tell them not to eat the sand, while we drank tea in flasks and reminisced about the good old days. That’s what grown ups did. When I am an adult, I would think, everything will be good. I will finally be free. Adulthood = Freedom.
I painted a picture of my Big Bright Future through the lens of an old Argos catalogue, and today I am inside that distant future; in the painting, living and breathing it. But I don’t have the hand painted tea cups, or the navy blue patterned plates. I don’t have a garden slide. And I don’t have the baby either.
ABOUT ‘OLIVE’: Independent.
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.
MY THOUGHTS: Oh where do I start? This is chic-lit, but not chic-lit. It is funny, and serious at the same time. Olive explores many things, but mainly the dilemma of the woman who chooses not to have a child. (No, I am not talking about abortion.) While Olive’s friends are all madly nesting, and procreating, or trying to procreate through IVF, Olive makes the decision to remain ‘child-free’.
Emma Gannon has written a humorous, searching, thoughtful and honest book about Olive’s decision and how it impacts her life, her relationship, her friendships, particularly those with her three best friends: Bea, who has it all – the husband, the house, and 2.4 children (3 actually); Cec, who is pregnant with her first child; and Isla who is struggling with infertility and the impact it’s having on her marriage.
Olive demonstrates how easily we can feel threatened by other people’s life choices, how we become so defensive of our own, and how our life choices can affect our friendships.
I didn’t always like Olive, or her friends, but sometimes I loved them, a reflection on how friendships wax and wane. All of these friends are, at various times, self-obsessed, dismissive, judgemental, supportive, and loyal. They were definitely fun.
Sian Clifford made an excellent narrator of the audiobook.
Olive is both entertaining and thought provoking, a lighthearted look at some serious subjects.
T: @AndrewsMcMeel @emmagannon
I: @andrewsmcmeel @emmagannon
#audiobook #chic-lit #contemporaryfiction #sliceoflife
THE AUTHOR: Emma Gannon is a Sunday Times bestselling author, speaker, novelist and host of the no. 1 careers podcast in the UK, Ctrl Alt Delete.
Emma started her career in digital marketing at agencies and then at Condé Nast as social media editor. She has been a columnist for The Times, Telegraph and Courier magazine on the topics of business, creativity and the future of work.
DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Andrews McMeel Publishing via Netgalley for providing an audio ARC of Olive by Emma Gannon for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.
For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com
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